Meet the Punters – Gil Alexander, VSiN

Have you been podcasting longer than Gil Alexander? Let me answer this question for you. No, this is not the case. He jumped on the bandwagon as soon as it was built.

Gil Alexander has always had a passion for sports betting. As a DJ on a pop radio station, he didn’t have many places to talk about it. In 2005 and 2006, most of his audience was just waiting for him to shut up and play along to that new Rihanna record.

Knowing about radio and not wanting to age, he started a podcast and immediately saw that people were paying attention. There wasn’t much at first, but it was enough for Gil to realize there was a future in talking about gambling.

Today, nearly 20 years later, Gil Alexander is a centerpiece of VSiN’s syndicated programming. His show A numbers game is heard throughout the country.

In our conversation for the Meet the Bettors series presented by Point to Point Marketing, Gil offers plenty of opinions on numbers and how people use them. He shares his thoughts on who his show is for, the future of the game of golf, and who hates analysis.

Demetri Ravanos I was doing a rock radio morning show around the time podcasting became a thing – 2005 or 06. I feel like the idea of ​​podcasting was sold to us as “oh, it’s just people who play on the radio. I wonder if having such a specific focus, something you absolutely couldn’t find on the radio at that time, caused you to look past or ignore the way it was sort of portrayed within the industry.

Gil Alexandre This is an interesting point and one that I hadn’t thought of. This could be very true. Sports betting was such a specific thing, and my wildly innovative idea told me I was going to be honest about winning and losing. Back then, and maybe to some extent now, but certainly in those days, the industry was overrun with scammers. The only voices were those of people who had never lost and who would tell you crazy things about their success. So, I was going to do this show where I was going to tell you when I won, when I lost and why.

Yeah, that’s a great point. I never really thought that it was the specificity of this subject that led me to become so passionate about podcasting.

RD So you mentioned that being honest about when you won or lost was important to your show. I want to kind of fast forward to today. Now, when you’re on VSiN, do you approach a topic thinking about talking about your victory or defeat or do you watch the show because everything you talk about has to relate personally to the listener?

GEORGIA: Well, if I make a bet for myself, I’m always honest about it, win or lose, right? I explain why I make the bets that I do, regardless of the sport. Tennis is more data-driven. Baseball, I think, is more cerebral, but also data-driven. Some other sports are more data-driven.

For me, every day that I do a radio show, and I’ve been doing it for seven years now, in addition to the podcast now, which I still do, I think my goal every day is to say something different than what everyone is saying. I want to have a different view of something. Not in a performative way, but if I really do it, I’m proud of it. The other thing is I want the listener to recognize that the show may be smarter than most, but it’s not so smart that it’s not entertaining. That’s the biggest thing in all of this.

DR: I think about it a lot when I listen to your show, really all the programming on VSiN, but yours especially because it’s in prime time for syndicated shows. You get the idea that it’s smarter than most, but that doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining. So, what target audience are you targeting? It seems to me that it is not designed exclusively for sharp players, but certainly for educated and experienced players, as opposed to something that is a little more entertainment focused.

GEORGIA: Yeah, it’s one of those answers where when it comes out of my mouth I’m afraid I’ll sound like a little jerk, but I hope A numbers game is one of those things that I think is very rare. He has the ability to speak to the savvy punters, to make them recognize that they can get something out of it while at the same time speaking better to the more novice punters and to those people recognizing that they can get something out of it. I think this is a very small subset of people. I can give you some names. Drew Dinsick does it very well, Adam Chernoff does it very well.

To the extent that I do it well, I think I have achieved my goals on a daily basis.

A radio programmer would say, “Well, that’s terrible, because you don’t even have a target audience.” You are everywhere. I don’t really subscribe to this theory. It’s a little more authentic to me, and so far, so good. It hasn’t tripped me up yet. Maybe one day it will.

DR: So, for someone who has been creating this type of content in audio form for so long, what would you say to people who are just getting into it, especially in states where gambling has just become legal to maintain a audience? I imagine that given America’s love of soccer, there’s a wild fluctuation in the number of people tuning in between, say, August and February, compared to the rest of the year.

GEORGIA: The most important thing I would say is that sports bettors are smart. Authentic sports, which they can sniff out very quickly if you are not part of them. The most important thing is that you actually bet. If not, I’d probably say you’re probably not doing it right or you’re probably not the right fit. If you gamble, you will, without even trying, become so passionate about what you do. For the person new to this type of content creation, this is the quickest hack: you actually do this.

You’d be surprised, or maybe not, how many people in the space probably don’t do this. Right off the bat, this is probably not a good start.

I also think that this applies beyond betting. I think this applies to everything we do. If someone asked me to do a podcast about opera, I would be a horrible choice, right? I don’t go to the opera.

DR: Which sport do you think has benefited the most from the expansion of sports betting?

GEORGIA: I’d say it’s probably the UFC, honestly. First of all, he had his own stage all to himself during the pandemic. I think whether or not there was something in this world called sports betting, you know, I think people wouldn’t have been as engaged as they otherwise would have been. This came to light during the pandemic, but to this day I know many casual punters who don’t watch anything unless they’ve bet on it. If they bet on it, they are absolutely interested.

I have said it several times. I think the sport most ripe for a betting revolution is golf, which has certainly benefited from legalization so far. But I think it could explode because each tournament is four days and it’s a pool of over 100 players starting on Thursday and obviously going past the cut and then through the weekend. I think, by that nature, there are so many things you can do betting-wise with this sport that you couldn’t do with other sports. This is an older offshore global sports exchange model, but you can essentially create a stock market for players every weekend, allowing for constant betting.

DR: Well, is there anything at this point that you don’t feel comfortable betting on? Is there any sport in which Gil Alexander’s knowledge base doesn’t include enough x’s to place a bet?

GEORGIA: Oh yeah. I think there is something for everyone. I mean, your gambling money is limited and your ability to be a sports expert is limited. You can’t be an expert on everything.

I think for me, I have a job every day and even if it’s in the same field and I do a podcast on top of that, there’s no path. Like right now, for example, I have double digit bets on the NFL Draft, I handicap tennis daily, and I just finished the second match I bet on a few moments ago, and I I have a one-month bet on baseball. These are three sports that come to mind. So if someone came up to me right now and said, “Hey, what do you have on the NBA games tonight or the NHL games?” Like, for me, I can’t even consider the NHL, and I’ll only bet on the NBA if something jumps out at me on a daily basis, because you just don’t have the bandwidth for everything.

DR: It’s interesting to me because I’ve heard old-school sports radio guys talk about game content the same way old-school baseball guys talk about analytics. For example, there is this category of people in our industry who believe that someone like you is just trying to boil everything down to a number to give them an answer. And there is no real love of the game yet for a die-hard gambler. Obviously, this is not true.

GEORGIA: Yeah. One of the things that people who are interested in analytics, and I consider myself one of them, find the most amusing is that people who aren’t interested in analytics analysis find an excuse not to have to work in this field. It’s easier not to do it.

It’s kind of a knee-jerk reaction of “well, these analysts don’t watch sports.” If anything, analysts probably watch more sports than all of them. So it’s like just because you’re one doesn’t mean you’re not the other. And Aaron Schatz is the creator of DVOA, which is a football analysis he started at Football Outsiders and now works at FTN, he has always been amused by the same thing, how those who don’t understand how to feel better in their skin.

To learn more about Point-To-Point Marketing’s podcast audience development and broadcast marketing strategies, contact Tim Bronsil at [email protected] or 513-702-5072.