Entain has reported a 59% increase in betting activity on the National League in the 2021/22 season compared to 2017/18. The Ladbrokes and Neds owner has credited the rise in bets placed on the fifth tier of English soccer to the “Wrexham effect.”
Even Australian bettors were affected by the phenomenon, with the London-listed company saying bets on Wrexham AFC matches in Australia increased by 781% compared to 2019/2020. In the US, bets placed on Wrexham games have risen by as much as 3,818% in three years.
The Hollywood Effect
Wrexham AFC was bought by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in November 2020. The pair made a docuseries called Welcome to Wrexham documenting their experience and the club’s plight in the National League.
Entain’s report about the Wrexham effect was released to mark the club’s debut in League Two after earning promotion from the National League last season.
To put things in perspective, the English second-tier, the Championship, has only seen an increase of 15% in betting activity, while there has been a rise of 32% for League One and 24% for League Two. That illustrates the importance and impact of the docuseries on wagering activity.
Interestingly, Notts County FC, Wrexham’s rivals for the top spot in the National League, has also felt the impact. Bets placed on the National League 2022/23 runners-up have increased by 89% compared to 2021/22.
The popularity of Wrexham AFC’s new owners has also resulted in an increase in the reputation of the club they bought. Google Trends reported that Wrexham AFC has been one of the most searched-for sports teams in the US and was more popular than the MLS.
Building On Welcome to Wrexham
Entain Chief Commercial Officer Dominic Grounsell said the company saw a huge change in the way fans engaged with the sports they love and that “behind-the-scenes access” took this even further. Grounsell added that docuseries such as Welcome to Wrexham attracted new fans to a sport and enticed them to increase their excitement by placing a bet on their favourite team.
In Australia, Entain has collaborated with Racing Victoria to produce a docudrama about the All-Star Mile in Melbourne. Like Welcome to Wrexham, it takes viewers behind the scenes and shows them what happens in the days leading up to the race. The documentary will be released later this year.
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