Betting on Football Conference (BOFCON) 2016 Recap

Betting on Football Conference (BOFCON) 2016 Recap

The Betting on Football Conference, an event organized by Sports Betting Community or SBC, took place today in London at the Chelsea Football Club and was an absolute success.  The reaction of every delegate came across was a positive one, all declaring they were impressed with the turnout and the sessions were clearly a hit as the conference room was constantly full.

During the lunch break Keith McDonnell of KM iGaming told the first half of the day had already made his trip to the conference a success, quite a compliment coming from someone who has attended dozens of iGaming events in his career.

Vahe Baloulian, CEO of BetConstruct, told he was impressed with the event as well and regarded it as the perfect place to discuss Euro 2016 strategies and opportunities.

In addition to featuring information-packed sessions in one room, BOFCON provided delegates with plenty of networking opportunities during the event in a second room.  The second room also showcased a few handfuls of exhibitors, all busy with foot traffic throughout the day. decided to take a booth at BOFCON this year and they were certainly pleased with their decision to do so.  Daniel Hurley,’s UK Country Manager, told his company will be launching a sports betting product in July and are currently searching for partners.  He said BOFCON served as an ideal location for making those initial connections with industry professionals and confirmed he was learning a lot about the sports betting side of the business from the sessions and conversations during networking breaks.

Today’s panels covered a number of topics near and dear to the sports betting community, spanning from football club partnerships to eSports, content marketing, big data, live betting products, corruption, integrity, DFS, Euro 2016 and more.

The eSports presentation was delivered by Kahlid Naim of STARK eSports, a full-service agency based in Germany and with a focus on gaming and eSports.  Naim started off his presentation with a video showing arenas full of screaming eSports fans, always a powerful message for delegates who are not familiar with just how popular eSports already are around the world.

Naim backed up the visuals with some numbers and went on to explain the opportunities for advertising in eSports are similar to football, for example, online and social media campaigns, partnerships, sponsorships, tournaments, merchandise and so on.  He also pointed out eSports have a lot to learn from the established football clubs in the UK, namely:

1)Professionalism- people in the eSports industry are giving themselves titles such as CEO, VP and manager without any qualifications

2)Infrastructure- associations are missing

3)Regulations- the rules are not uniform

4)Independent ownership of leagues

According to Naim, in addition to providing a good example for the eSports brands, football clubs are already getting involved with the eSports industry through FIFA and LOL partnerships, something Naim believes will continue to grow.

Today’s content marketing panel featured an impressive line-up, including Asaf Peled of, Andy Meikle of Sportlobster, Jae Chalfin of GiveMeSport, Matt Wilson of Ball Street and Chris Duncan of Oddslife as moderator.

The question of why content is shared was thrown out to the panel and Wilson said the timing of the content is crucial.  “If you’re in that moment when something happens, you can achieve great things”, he said.  Wilson added providing your audience with something they’re passionate about is also important.

Peled suggested staying away from traditional news and identifying a colorful angle instead.  This more social angle will generate a lot more momentum on social media, he said.

All panelists agree social media should be more of a “friendly” channel where the brand builds a relationship with their customers as opposed to “hard selling”.  Chalfin said Millennials will “switch off” if brands push them too much via social media channels.  Wilson agreed and added the importance of having a friendly dialogue with customers and how this can help if something goes wrong down the road.  “You’ve already got a dialogue with [the customer], it goes down better”, he said.

How to provide engaging content via mobile devices was also covered and Peled said customized push notifications are key.  He said its possible to identify the customer’s area of interest, the team they follow for example and brands can use this information to retain the customer.  Peled suggested sending notifications that go beyond raw scores and odds, with more of a focus on breaking news about the team, for example.  “It’s a lot of work to customize, but very successful”, he said.

The “How has the increasing availability of data affected trading patterns” panel featured speakers Jeevan Jeyaratnam of Super Soccer, Paolo Personeni of Sportradar, Nathan Rothschild of iSport Genius and Jonathan Smith of Sportsbook Training Services as moderator.

Rothschild explained how the availability of data has evolved over the years, confirming the prevalence of data and the power of computing allows much more accurate results today than ten years ago.  He pointed out how iSport Genius’s data can dive deep, gathering information such as weather conditions and other factors from years prior.

Availability of such data has resulted in a complete change of landscape in the sports betting world.  Rothschild said it was previously up to the punter to come up with their own research and they would often use third party sites to gather the information.  Bookmakers did not like punters leaving their site for any reason, so now bookmakers choose to provide the data on-site to keep the punters from leaving.