Busy Curling Betting Schedule Coming Up, But Only if You Use PointsBet
Here’s a question – why don’t more sportsbooks offer curling in Canada?
Before Christmas, Unibet announced a sponsorship deal with the Northern Ontario Curling Association – including title sponsorship for the 2023 Women’s and Men’s Curling Championship, to be held in Kenora Jan. 24-29.
This partnership with Unibet will enable NOCA to provide unprecedented streaming coverage of every game, on every sheet of ice, to curling fans around the province.
Still, Unibet doesn’t offer curling to bettors. In fact, curling isn’t currently an option for any operator on the Kambi platform, and that, of course, includes Unibet. We were told the sponsorship wasn’t done to get fans to bet on curling. It was to promote the sport at an amateur level, while being a branding exercise for Unibet.
Why Don't More Sportsbooks Offer Curling?
We asked several operators about curling, but none currently offer it. A spokesperson from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation said they are working to get curling onto their Proline sportsbook. BetRivers doesn’t offer it. Neither does Fan Duel or DraftKings.
“Curling offers numerous ways for fans to engage, including sports gaming,” said Curling Canada spokesperson Al Cameron. “There are, essentially, 10 games within a game (10 ends at national and world championships), which all have distinct outcomes. And with so many Canadians participating in the sport of curling at the club level, there is an experiential element that they can bring to the sport and any potential bets that they place.”
That’s where the rubber hits the road – the sport’s popularity in Canada. Curling is played in every province and territory, in 1,000 clubs, and is played by almost two million per year in Canada (pre-pandemic). There are over 300 hours of Curling Canada events on television each year, and the national championships for both men’s and women’s always score big ratings.
According to a 2020 University of Waterloo study on the Canadian curler, the estimated size of the Canadian curling market in the winter of 2020 was just over seven million – over 5.6 million reported just watching, and over 1.4 million reported participating in the sport – around a 62 per cent male, 38 per cent female split.
And it isn’t as if there isn’t a good selection of events coming up. The 2023 Scotties Tournament of Hearts (where the top women’s teams in the country compete for the Canadian women’s championship) will be held Feb. 17-26 at Sandman Centre, in Kamloops, B.C. The 2023 Tim Hortons Brier (top men’s teams compete for the men’s title) will be held March 3-12 at the Budweiser Gardens, in London. The 2023 World Men’s Curling Championship will be held April 1-9 at TD Place in Ottawa.
Then there’s the PointsBet Invitational curling tournament, with a scheduled date and place to be determined for 2023. The inaugural PointsBet Invitational was held last September at Willie O’Ree Place in Fredericton, NB. The event featured 32 Canadian teams, the first major event of the 2022-23 “Season of Champions”, and the first event of the quadrennial that leads to the 2026 Winter Olympics in Italy.
“We’ve been impressed with the interest,” said Patrick Eichner, a spokesperson with PointsBet Canada. “It’s one of those sports where fans really love it and follow it closely. The PointsBet Invitational last year wasn’t in Ontario, so there was no betting from the folks that were in attendance, but that said the folks on hand seemed eager to bet on it and we had good interest back home in Ontario. We think it’s poised to keep on growing in interest.”
PointsBet is Curling Canada's Partner
PointsCanada is the official sports betting partner of Curling Canada. At this point, it has the buffet table to itself regarding betting on the sport. The company says it is in it for the long run and is focused on innovating the real-time engagement experience of the curling fan. It is working closely with Curling Canada to bring new and exclusive pre-match and in-play markets to the ice for fans.
And this is all something Nic Sulsky, chief commercial officer of PointsBet Canada, is fully embracing.
“We believe that curling is a sport perfectly positioned to take advantage of the innovation boom we are seeing across the North American sports betting sector,” he said. “Gaming legalization and regulation has brought digital fan engagement to the forefront, and what sport has more opportunity to tap into than a sport that 30%+ of Canadians watch on broadcast?
“Curling is a sport that frequently has better TV ratings than many of the other major North American sports, but gamblers have just begun to engage. Due to the scheduling of its tournaments, curling frequently finds itself as the lone live North American professional sport on television, and it’s a sport built for live betting.
“All of that screams opportunity to PointsBet, while also providing an innovative new way to attract younger eyeballs to Curling Canada. With two major Curling events taking place in Ontario in Q1 of 2023 — The Brier in London and the World Championships in Ottawa — we are eagerly anticipating the added excitement and engagement legal sports betting can bring to the awesome on-ice drama every curling event already delivers.”
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