Sport tends to command a considerable number of television programming hours. Be it darts, table tennis or football, events all around the world are being broadcast at all times of the day.
But the vast number of sporting events means that not all matches, games, competitions and tournaments can be covered live. Even when it comes to the English Premier League – the most watched football league in the world – less than half of each week’s games are shown live.
For the online gambling industry, herein lies an opportunity.
Just as high street bookmakers bring in punters who are able to watch horse races live on screen in stores, iGaming operators can attract customers with the promise of being able to watch your own team every week. This means that rather than waiting to watch highlights or listening on local radio, fans are able to watch the team that they are most interested in.
For operators, greater interest usually means a higher likeliness of a flutter taking place. It also means that in cases where customers do watch their favourite team, there’s a good chance that heart may end up ruling head.
Of course this idea goes hand in hand with in-play betting and together could prove to be an excellent way of acquiring customers. Unsurprisingly, one of the most impressive iGaming companies in the UK – Bet365, is already looking to capitalise on this opportunity.
In order to offer this service, the Stoke based company have partnered with the Perform Group whose Watch & Bet platform is proving extremely popular – and rightly so.
The company’s website boasts agreements with 200 rights holders and claims to offer a selection of more than 11,800 live events every year – on average that’s more than 32 events every day.
Coverage from Perform is so comprehensive that you are able to watch the SAFF Championships, BWF Badminton, KFC Twenty20, Beach Soccer and many many more. If you have no idea what half of those events are, don’t worry because you won’t be alone in most cases. But someone will know what they are and these people may even have a bet on the events in question.
As a result of the choice and impressive service on offer from Perform, more than 30 online bookmakers have teamed up with the UK based company. This selection includes heavy hitters William Hill, bwin and Unibet as well as bet365.
But as is often the case, bet365 have taken it that one step further and in doing so have created a product that is sure to prove popular. This is Mobile Watch & Bet which was launched just last month and offers a similar service but from mobile phones. It means that users of Android and iOS devices will be able to stream a large selection of events straight onto their phones.
Speaking at the time of the release, bet365’s CTO Martin Davies said: “We are taking mobile very seriously. There’s a similar excitement as 10 years ago when we started to explore the full potential of the Internet”.
Of course, streaming to mobile does have its drawbacks for the operator, for example the screen size means that a compromise has to be made regarding the betting options that are on view during a game. bet365’s answer to this issue is to ensure that customers have to have deposited in order to be able to watch the match. While this is a good idea in principle it may need some tweaking before it is the finished article.
What does hold more potential as a product is the tablet version of Watch & Bet which bet365 have promised us will appear in 2012.
But bet365 aren’t alone, Ladbrokes have stepped into this ultra-modern mobile streaming world while staying true to their traditional bookmaker roots.
Their customers are able to watch UK and Irish horse racing on their mobiles as of December. However the service is currently only available on iPhones but there are plans in place to extend the service to Android devices and other operating systems in the near future.
Ladbrokes’ way of getting round the conversion issues presented by mobile streaming is to require customers not only to deposit money into their account but also to place a £1 bet.
These are just some of the attempts to take control of what the Global Betting and Gambling Consultancy estimate to be a $2.7 billion mobile gambling industry.
Lorien Pilling, research director at GBGC spoke about the mobile industry following the release of a report on the industry.
She said: “After a decade of disappointment and largely unfolded promises from 3G mobile services in all sectors, not just gambling, the influential factors seem to be aligning to enable mobile gambling to be a more substantial contributor to operators’ earnings.”
But while the examples used above mainly concern the UK market, its important to note that the opportunities to take advantage of limited broadcasting aren’t just confined to the Premier League obsessed UK.
Asian Logic have taken the early lead in Asia with 12Bet TV. This impressive service has the best coverage of Pacific-Asia sporting events and also includes a healthy dose of European and American sports as well.
To highlight just how much choice is on offer with 12Bet, just look at the number of events being streamed on any given day. Wednesday January 3 saw more than 15 events being shown.
The advent of this new feature is sure to be a big deal for operators all over the world. But it’s doesn’t just provide opportunities for operators as affiliates have a chance to cash in as well.
Although searches are currently low, if operators promote these services well enough then interest is bound to rise. Competition is still low for the main keywords associated with the live streaming services meaning that there are definite opportunities to find yourself ranking well when it comes to live betting and streaming.
Given the potential that live streaming and mobile/tablet streaming have, there seems to be very little talk about them. Surely this will change as operators and their customers wake up to the sports streaming opportunities on offer.