Wrexham AFC is making its debut in League Two of the English Football League this weekend, after scoring a promotion from the National League and climbing to Hollywood fame with the docuseries, Welcome to Wrexham. To mark this milestone, Entain, the global sports betting, gaming, and interactive entertainment group, reveals the ‘Wrexham Effect’ in sports betting.
After Hollywood icons Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney took over Wrexham AFC in November 2020, Entain’s Ladbrokes and Coral brands in the UK recorded an increase of 59% in the number of bets placed during the National League’s 2021/22 season from 2017/18. This far outpaces that of the Championship League, League One and League Two, which saw a 15%, 32% and 24% increase respectively, and demonstrates the powerful impact that the docuseries has had on the popularity of non-league football.
Other non-league clubs have seen the impact too – including Wrexham AFC’s previous rival, Notts County FC, who finished in second place in the 2022/23 National League season and saw an 89% increase in the number of bets on the team from 2021/22.
The ‘Wrexham Effect’ has also taken over on the other side of the world, with Entain Australia recording an increase of 781% on the number of bets placed on Wrexham AFC football games, from 2019/20 to 2022/23. And across the pond in the US, the number of BetMGM bets placed on any Wrexham game has increased a staggering 3818% from the 2020/21 season to the 2022/23 season. Thanks to the celebrity status of the new owners, Wrexham AFC has seen a surge of popularity in the US, with Google Trends data even revealing that the Red Dragons have become one of the most searched for teams, more than the nation’s top soccer league, Major League Soccer (MLS).
It is not just football that has benefited from the boom in sporting docuseries, with the NBA experiencing a surge in popularity following the release of The Last Dance on Netflix in April 2020, which followed the success story of the Chicago Bulls’ dream team:
- Data from Entain’s global brands reveals that the number of bets placed on NBA games increased by 46% from the 2019/20 season to 2020/21.
- In the home of the NBA league, data from BetMGM evidences growing interest in the sport, with a 61% increase in the number of bets from 2021 to 2022.
Likewise, Formula 1 has attracted a cohort of new fans, spearheaded by the popularity of the Drive for Survive series on Netflix. Viewership figures for the docuseries get better every season, with the debut of season five seeing nearly 570,000 viewers over its first week, a 40% jump over 2022’s season four debut:
- Data from Entain’s global brands reveals that the number of bets placed on Formula 1 races increased by 16% in 2022 compared to the year prior, and by 63% compared to 2019, when the first season of Drive for Survive aired.
- Mirroring this growth, data from BetMGM in the US shows a 142% increase in the number of bets placed on Formula 1 in 2022, versus 2021.
Dominic Grounsell, Chief Commercial Officer at Entain, said: “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.
“At Entain, we’re constantly monitoring how this movement is evolving, listening to our customers, and creating content that resonates with them. Coral’s ‘Taking the Reins’ documentary series is a prime example of this and reinforces our commitment to bringing moments of excitement to fans beyond the track, pitch, or court.”
Entain Australia, in collaboration with Racing Victoria, has also produced a sport docudrama based around the running of the All-Star Mile in Melbourne. The documentary plans to give viewers a behind-the-scenes perspective in the lead-up to the running of one of Australia’s richest races. It will air later on this year.