Today, we're joined for a guest blog from Jacobs Media Senior Consultant Dave Beasing:
Americans will bet on anything. The LA Times (6/5/06) offers the latest proof with a report that (illegal) online bookies are accepting wagers about Opening Weekend Movie Box Office. Hey, why not? People in this town have been betting their careers and houses on Opening Weekend for years! Of course, it's the business of show business that creates expectations and makes betting possible. Studio professionals are constantly predicting what each movie opening is likely to make, not unlike any industry's sales force projects next month's gross.
For example, when BetUs.com set the target on the latest X-Men at $81.5 Million, everyone who bet "the over" won when it reached $102.8 Million domestically. Aly Lalani of Toronto won $100 at betbet.com by taking "the under" on The Da Vinci Code. Now the 30-year-old software engineer says, "They've turned me from a football and basketball bettor into a football, basketball and movie bettor."
But box office totals are just the beginning of Hollywood's wager-able outcomes. Will Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore have a baby by the end of 2007? Odds are 2-to-1 at betonsports.com. The couple may be relieved that odds of their divorce are only 5-to-1.
Men, by their genetic nature, love competition. Someone must win and someone must lose for almost any activity to seem meaningful. We can't simply take a nice walk in the country, so we play golf. Been to a racetrack lately? A few people there are fascinated by that sport's proud tradition, but most are there to have a beer with friends and, just maybe, win some money. Interest in football has grown, in large part, thanks to fantasy football leagues. What would the NCAA Final Four be without office pools? And what makes an Oscar-viewing house party fun for the otherwise disinterested? A cash pool about the outcome, of course.
So if the personalities on your radio station are looking for guy-friendly ways to discuss pop culture, how about a friendly wager now and then? Maybe those who (proudly) didn't care about Katharine McPhee vs. Taylor Hicks needed to have a little something riding on the outcome of American Idol. That longtime Friday morning bit with the local movie critic might take on new life if a bet or two were involved – and might cause listeners to tune back in on Monday to find out who won.
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