Nic Robinson was a sapling of a lad when he started helping his dad out with fantasy sports. In this role of dream-team consultant, young Nic contributed to his own college fund, earning a slot as an undergrad (and eventually grad) at the University of Oregon, where he studied sports business and journalism.
Now 23, Robinson has returned to his pubescent roots professionally, launching the Live Betting Show, billed as the first sports betting network hosted exclusively on Twitter Spaces, an oft-forgotten corner of the social media platform that’s still very much in existence despite the company’s mercurial new owner, Elon Musk, temporarily shutting it down last week.
With the help of Dan Zucker, an industry veteran who co-founded Sports Handle, Robinson and his similarly aged business partner, Sam Dietrich (also a Duck), have assembled an impressive, generationally diverse roster of on-air talent, with an emphasis on in-game betting angles.
“We love the in-game aspect of things because microbetting is becoming such a big thing,” said Robinson. “People don’t really realize that everything’s about game script, and if we have in-game halftime shows, we can have our analysts read the game script. You can’t predict a game script before a game starts, but when you read it halfway through, it’s a lot easier.”
The Live Betting Show’s content is solid and slowly developing a core of listeners. But its very existence warrants wondering whether throwing all of one’s eggs in Elon’s bird basket is a sustainable play right now.
The ol’ next ‘big thing’
Daniel Sallerson spent 10 years with the New Orleans Pelicans as a studio host and fill-in analyst before moving to Georgia and casting out on his own. He’d long had an interest in sports wagering, but NBA rules limited his involvement. Freshly unshackled, he answered an ad from Robinson and Dietrich and now co-hosts a weekly NBA player props show with Varun Sharma.
“We’re doing it once a week on Friday and are starting to see a following,” Sallerson told Sports Handle. “Varun is our betting expert. I’m really just there to lead the way and guide things along. We talk about the NBA slate for that day. It moves pretty fast on Twitter Spaces. I think it’s a great platform. It’s nice to interact with people who are looking for some help.”
When asked about his confidence in the durability of that platform, Sallerson said, “There’s a little bit of a trust issue going on with the platform. You’ve seen people saying they’re gonna make the switch, but they’re still on there. You get a lot of info from Twitter. I don’t think it’s going anywhere right now. I’m hoping it gets better as far as people trusting it. It’s something that people are still using.”
Naturally, Robinson concurs.
“Our company fully rides on another company, which is Twitter,” he said. “If that were to go south, we would be kind of toast. We’re kind of banking on Twitter to continue what it’s done in the past. They’re going to continue to modernize Spaces. I think that’s gonna be a big thing. I think they’re gonna continue to give us more availability and maybe paying per view on Twitter Spaces and give us more monetization around the app. I think Twitter is just getting started, to be honest. Based on our sources, we’re told there definitely will be some enhancement on the app.”
Like a lot of Americans, John Holden’s day last Wednesday was interrupted by word that the trash-tastic cable network TLC would be launching a “reality” show called MILF Manor, in which a cadre of “hot” matriarchs (whom you’d like to funk) would compete for the hearts and loins of younger males.
Welcome to #MILFManor! Eight hot moms leave home for the chance to find love with men half their age, but they're greeted with a shocking twist. The new series premieres January 15th at 10/9c on @TLC. pic.twitter.com/SdkuyotqLi
— TLC Network (@TLC) December 14, 2022
But beyond the MILFs, a controversy surrounding a Twitter account that tracked the whereabouts of Elon Musk’s private jet came to a hilt. After saying he wouldn’t suspend any Twitter accounts, Musk suspended this one. Then he unsuspended it. Then he suspended it again. Then he threatened legal action against the account’s 20-year-old operator, Jack Sweeney, who basically told Musk to pound sand. Then Musk disabled the accounts of a bunch of journalists who were discussing the debacle. Then he pulled the plug on Twitter Spaces (for a while, anyway) when those same journalists resurfaced there.
“Would I be a little nervous that Twitter policy seems to evolve by tweet? Absolutely,” said John Holden, an associate professor who specializes in sports law and gambling policy at Oklahoma State University. “From a business perspective, you just don’t know what’s coming.”
That’s indisputable. But the fact remains that until another platform knocks Twitter off its perch, the bluebird will continue to soar — especially in the sports betting space.
“Twitter remains the biggest social media platform for sports gambling,” said Holden. “As far as going where people are, Twitter still probably is the best place. If you build your own tech, you’re probably years away. For all of its flaws, Twitter is still likely the best option out there.”
Holden is also somewhat tickled by the Live Betting Show’s presence on Twitter Spaces.
“It’s kind of interesting to me because Twitter Spaces, it seemed like Twitter introduced it and it might go away. But I’m constantly surprised at how frequently they pop up,” he said. “I’ve only done one or two of them where people have had me on as a guest, but I do notice that some of them get like tens of thousands of people. I was kind of skeptical at first, but it seems to have some staying power.”