The internet has been abuzz this week over an incredible turnover at the World Indoor Bowls Championships in the UK. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the sport (which is similar to pétanque), you can appreciate the seemingly astronomical odds of what many people call the perfect and best shot ever.
The shot came from England’s Nick Brett in the open pairs final of the annual event. Social media is full of comments from people saying they are now intrigued by the game.
Take a look at the insane exploit for yourself:
The balls used are unevenly weighted and help them have curved trajectories, which makes them different from the bocce ball. Still, the shot is undeniably stunning, especially considering the indoor court is around 130 feet long. The jack, which is the smallest ball that competitors try to position their balls close to in order to score points, is often not that far away, however.
Amazingly, Brett acted like he’d been there before and didn’t even celebrate the miracle shot.
Lawn bowling: A sport that uses balls of unequal weight that curl depending on how they are thrown. Bocce: A sport that uses evenly weighted balls that go straight.
I’ve seen five outlets mix the two so far, so tip everyone who blogs today.
—Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 23, 2020
It seems like a watershed moment for the sport (also known as lawn bowling or bowling) as the UK tabloids are calling it arguably the greatest stunt in the history of organized sport, or at least the best ever filmed. ESPN featured him this week on at least one of its top programs.
Didn’t think I’d live a day to see indoor bowls go viral https://t.co/xgoybzB16W
— Dave Lee (@DaveLeeFT) January 23, 2020
The shot helped propel Brett and his teammate to the title.
Congratulations to Greg Harlow and Nick Brett on winning the Open Pairs title at the 2020 Just World Indoor Bowls Championships at @PottersResort! Our own @slowe1968 was there to present the trophies. What an amazing game to watch and a much deserved win 🏆 #JustBowls pic.twitter.com/hRMIh2DhcY
— Just (@WeAreJustUK) January 21, 2020
betting on sports
There were no legal betting markets on the 2020 World Indoor Bowls Championships in the nascent US sports betting market. Sports betting in the UK was of course taking action.
Could this situation change with the sport having a new fan following thanks to the viral clip?
This is possible, as American sportsbooks in Indiana, for example, are already allowed to take bets on traditional bowling and even darts. Are darts, which are also more popular in the UK, so different from indoor bowling? Probably not, and maybe Brett’s magic move could help create a niche betting market.
Sports betting in the United States is dominated by football, basketball and baseball, but some less popular sports should be given the opportunity to grow their respective fanbases through sports betting. The idea is that the opportunity to have in-game skin in the form of money will lead to more viewers and deeper engagement.
The big three sports often don’t offer much to make bettors feel like they have an advantage against the house. Niche sports might be appealing from the perspective of doing your own research and making a bet that you think might have more value than any bet you can find on a football game. The big three sports are saturated with analysis by betting experts. Niche sports give you more leeway to form your own opinions and analyzes and can make the spectator experience more enjoyable.
Of course, a viral clip on social media is fleeting, and it will take a lot more for the World Indoor Bowls Championship to become something more than a spot on the US sports betting radar, but that might be enough. to possibly add it to the sports menus niche. American sportsbooks should at least consider it.
State regulators would almost certainly approve it if they asked.