When we consume sports, we’re no longer tied to a few television broadcasting times. Due to OTT services, livestreaming and more and more social media content we can watch our favourite team or the most interesting competitions like the Champions League or the Premier League in various ways – and on different devices, too.
"Now you can watch pretty much any game from any sport anywhere in the world through a variety of different means suited to how you want to watch it. The world has changed – it is now sports but on my terms."#WorldSoccerCongress pic.twitter.com/HoZwULELRE— Sportradar (@Sportradar) 12. April 2019
And, as sports fans increasingly turn away from watching alone, media houses and publishers need to offer additional content for users to engage with. Betting is one key engagement and revenue driver that many outlets have focused on, with its opportunities only growing in a digitised world.
A second screen-centred landscape is perfectly suited for match-related interactions like in-play betting. Sportradar is a market-leading supplier of live sports data and betting services, meaning they can help both publishers and bookmakers stand out in a crowded landscape, providing new monetisation routes for media outlets and operators while offering bettors a more personalised experience.
On the Radar
The online betting space has grown and become increasingly technological in recent years, with in-play and personalised odds revolutionising the industry. The global sports betting market is expected to grow to 155 billion US dollars by 2024 although at the same time, the modern sports media landscape has grown increasingly difficult for many of the traditional publishers.
Via its betting arm Betradar, Sportradar powers some of the biggest bookmakers around the world with products such as Managed Trading Services – its holistic turnkey solution that allows operators to boost operations and drive higher margins, turnover and profits.
Furthermore, alongside live data and trading products, Sportradar provides live streaming channels to drive user engagement as well as its marketing solution ad:s, which helps streamline advertising spend by targeting sponsorship more efficiently for bookmakers.
To understand more about why football, betting and digital media are such a good fit, we interviewed Sportradar’s Customer Director for Sports Media, Jonathan Earle, and learned that betting enjoys a key position in the sports media monetisation strategy and also that cross-device marketing and live betting are growth drivers.
Spielmacher: What’s the outlook for sports media publishers in the current landscape?
Jonathan Earle: To put it simply, life is tough. Traditional publishers don’t have the monopoly on readers’ attention spans in the way they used to and while newspapers, television and radio could put their feet up back in the day, now they have competition from all sides.
Whether it’s big media titans like Amazon or Facebook, or it’s an amateur publisher churning out clips and GIFs – publishers in the middle are struggling to attract audiences and therefore not making the money they used to. That said, there are still viable avenues to monetise sports content and betting is an option many publishers are turning to.
Spielmacher: Betting and sports like football have always been closely tied. But do modern reception habits like second screening boost additional opportunities for generating revenue from digital gambling providers?
Jonathan Earle: Second-screen habits provide great opportunities for betting operators to drive engagement with audiences and bettors. However, it’s always a case of quality rather than quantity and making sure the second-screen content is relevant, timely and engaging. We believe in the use of sports data to help drive personalised content and therefore fan engagement, while market data and expertise is the key to ensuring advertising and marketing efforts are targeted at the right audiences.
Also, you have the continued growth of AI and as that continues to develop and become more mainstream, what we’ll see is a consistent move towards automated, personalised content that allows publishers to monetise their content and bookmakers to target their advertising more effectively.
Spielmacher: Are services like digital livestreaming and OTT major engagement drivers for bettors as they’re often received on devices you can directly place a bet from?
Jonathan Earle: Livestreaming, OTT and other additional content components can help operators and publishers satisfy their audience’s needs for more information, entertainment and match visualisation. In a betting context, it also helps provide more of an incentive for punters to follow the match action live – thereby staying on a site or app for longer and, most likely, being more engaged and betting more. It can also help enhance punter loyalty in what’s an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Spielmacher: Have betting and gambling become more of a widespread activity with a bigger digital variety of media offering?
Jonathan Earle: What we have seen as a result of the proliferation of digital and Social Media is a more varied and developed approach to betting offerings as well as a greater focus on personalisation and engagement in terms of marketing and advertising. The age of online and digital has not only increased competition in terms of the battle for attention – both with regards to publishers and betting operators – it’s also given both industries the scope to be increasingly creative with their marketing.
Whether you’re talking about media providers using gamified tools like InHabit or operators coming up with quirky ‘request a bet’ style offers, the opening up of the digital space has really forced both operators and outlets to adapt or suffer the consequences.
Spielmacher: How important is it to give users a personalised experience in the gambling context?
Jonathan Earle: Personalisation is a common theme across most industries and the gambling sector is no different. Not only do bettors want to see advertising that’s relevant to their interests or passions, bookmakers want their marketing spend to work for them. It’s why we created ad:s – the concept of not just using sports data to engage with fans but also knowledge of the market to bring relevant and timely advertising to audiences.
Spielmacher: What are the most important preconditions to enable a seamless betting experience for the user? Is cross-device marketing a proven asset in order to provide them with the right offer?
Jonathan Earle: There are three key aspects when it comes to ensuring a seamless and professional betting experience. Firstly, you need to ensure there is a clear and straightforward registration process so you’re not asking people to jump through hoops to sign up. Tied into that is the need for attractive sign-up benefits and bonuses – especially in what is an increasingly crowded marketplace. Finally, an attractive user interface is obviously really key, so that you ensure the betting experience is as slick and efficient as possible.
Cross-device marketing is the most effective avenue for engaging with bettors, as you have the ability to reach bettors at the most relevant touchpoints to them.
Spielmacher: Are live data the main ingredients for the creation of betting opportunities? What are the best ways to transfer these to users, so that they stay engaged?
Jonathan Earle: Live, in-play betting is proven to provide more engagement opportunities for operators as well as increased markets for games, teams and individual players – something that’s proven incredibly popular in the more established markets. It’s also beginning to prove popular in some of the legalised states in the US already, with New Jersey recording a high percentage of in-play.
Thanks so much for the interview, Jonathan.
Taking betting and its different opportunities for engagement into consideration for sports media revenue growth is certainly worth considering. In fact, it’s not really a gamble at all, is it?