Wrexham AFC’s Hollywood Journey Sparks “Wrexham Effect” in Sports Betting
Wrexham AFC, the English football club that rose to fame with the docuseries “Welcome to Wrexham,” is set to make its debut in League Two of the English Football League. The club’s success story, coupled with Hollywood icons Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney taking over the team in November 2020, has led to the ‘Wrexham Effect’ in sports betting, particularly for Entain’s Ladbrokes and Coral brands in the UK.
Landmark surge of placed bets
The popularity of the docuseries has translated into a remarkable 59% increase in the number of bets placed during the National League’s 2021/22 season compared to 2017/18. This surge in betting activity outpaces even the top leagues, including the Championship League, League One, and League Two, which saw increases of 15%, 32%, and 24% respectively.
Other non-league clubs, such as Notts County FC, Wrexham AFC’s previous rival, also experienced significant growth in betting interest. Notts County FC, finishing second in the 2022/23 National League season, witnessed an 89% increase in bets on the team from the previous season.
The ‘Wrexham Effect’ has not been limited to the UK. Entain Australia recorded an astounding 781% increase in bets placed on Wrexham AFC football games from 2019/20 to 2022/23. Similarly, in the US, the number of BetMGM bets placed on any Wrexham game skyrocketed by 3818% from the 2020/21 season to the 2022/23 season. Wrexham AFC’s celebrity status due to its new owners has led to a surge in popularity, even surpassing the search interest for Major League Soccer (MLS) on Google Trends.
The positive impact of docuseries
This trend of docuseries positively impacting sports popularity extends beyond football. The NBA experienced a surge in betting activity following the release of “The Last Dance” on Netflix in April 2020, focusing on the Chicago Bulls’ dream team success.
Similarly, Formula 1 has attracted a new cohort of fans due to the popularity of the “Drive to Survive” series on Netflix. The docuseries’ viewership figures have shown significant growth every season, highlighting its impact on increasing interest in the sport.
Innovative ways to engage fans
Entain’s Chief Commercial Officer, Dominic Grounsell, emphasized the importance of finding innovative ways for fans to engage with their favorite sports and teams: “We’ve seen a huge step change in the way fans engage with their favourite sports, and behind-the-scenes access in sporting docuseries has only heightened this further. They highlight the importance of finding new and innovative ways for fans to interact with sports and support their favourite teams, but also attract new fans to the sport – and they want to extend their entertainment by backing a team with a bet.
Entain, as a global sports betting, gaming, and interactive entertainment group, is closely monitoring these trends and creating content that resonates with its customers. The company’s commitment to bringing excitement to fans beyond the sporting events is evident in initiatives like Coral’s ‘Taking the Reins’ documentary series.
Moreover, Entain Australia’s collaboration with Racing Victoria has produced a sport docudrama centered around the All-Star Mile in Melbourne, further illustrating their dedication to providing engaging content for sports enthusiasts.
The ‘Wrexham Effect’ and the broader impact of sporting docuseries demonstrate how storytelling and behind-the-scenes access are influencing the way fans interact with and support their favorite sports and teams. As the industry continues to evolve, Entain remains committed to meeting the demands of its customers and enhancing the fan experience through innovative content and betting opportunities.