Virtual Sports Fans

The demographics of the virtual sports fan are a more pronounced manifestation of the make-up of the average sports bettor. 

This young male demographic makes virtual fans the ideal target audience for sportsbook operators, given their propensity to bet. However, it useful to note that virtual sports are not a niche pursuit with 19% of football fans enjoying virtual and eSports. 

The virtual sports fan is technically savvy and an early adopter of new technology. They are likely to own 3 plus devices and hold several social media accounts.   

A key motivator is a sense of fun and instant gratification - typically virtual sports bettors are found to promote the ‘water-cooler’ wins of £50 and above. 

a mobile audience


The mobile vs desktop divide is in keeping with most sports and streaming services, and mobile has now become the device of choice for Virtual Sports fans. This shift highlights the desire from consumers for instant gratification anytime, anywhere.  

The IMG ARENA Virtual Sports portfolio provides the perfect product to satisfy the consumer demand for 'always on' content. Our mobile-first strategy and the strength of the mobile product allows consumers to enjoy their favourite games from their mobile without a compromise in quality. 

a balanced portfolio for added engagement

IMG ARENA's virtual suite contains both scheduled and instant games that cater to the needs and wants of all players and the importance of a balanced portfolio cannot be understated 

Scheduled Virtuals provided an added layer of engagement for fans and are often more attractive to players who want to spend more time plotting their selections. They come with a greater narrative and offer players the chance to delve deeper into their selections. Form lines, leagues and jockeys give Scheduled Virtuals the lifelike characteristics that many consumers crave. 

Scheduled horse racing has the highest 'average revenue per daily active user' of all the games in the IMG ARENA virtual suite and this is down to the fact that much like in real horse racing, fans like to study form, choose their favourite jockey and make a more informed decision. 

It is the connection with the narrative that makes Scheduled Virtuals attractive to players and, as such, there is little cannibalisation from the Instant Virtual suite which is designed for a different consumer who is driven by more instant gratification and the ability to experience virtual sports on their terms. 

a valuable retention tool

The Instant Virtual suite provides a platform for operators to engage players for longer and has proven itself to be a valuable engagement and retention tool. The Instant Virtual suite gives the player the ability to skip scenes and results, to speed up and personalise their experience further. This kind of personalisation is invaluable for immersing and engaging consumers as players now expect that level of service not only in betting but across all industries. 

The Instant Virtual suite also plays a key role in the acquisition of new players providing an instant engagement tool to attract customers, delivering a faster more engaging tool for conversion to real money play.  

The growth of instant football

Instant Football was launched in January 2019, and since then has become the most popular game across the IMG ARENA virtual suite. The game has grown at an average of 23% per month, showing remarkable consistency in its upward trajectory. 

Both the number of bets and amount wagered have shown similar levels of growth, highlighting its power as both an acquisition and retention tool.  

Instant Football became the number one game within the IMG ARENA Virtuals portfolio in January 2020 underlining the strength of this game and the value it adds to an operator’s portfolio.  







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