The 6th edition of SBC’s Betting on Football (BOF) kicked off today at Stamford Bridge in London, home to the iconic Chelsea Football Club. Over the course of its lifespan, BOF has grown tremendously in size, with over 2000 delegates, 200 speakers and 40 booths this year, making for an absolutely packed expo floor.
BOF’s original intent was to examine the relationship between sports betting operators and football sponsorship, with today’s conference track schedule expanding into topics such as leadership and vision, innovation, marketing strategies and payments, all within the sports betting industry and beyond.
In addition to its unique and beloved networking opportunities, BOF delighted Day 1 delegates with the presence of Franco Baresi, an ex-footballer who is an absolute icon in Italy and for football fans around the world. Baresi opened up BOF today with a speech on the role of leadership in sport.
“I believe that leadership is of crucial importance in any sector, for any business for sports and especially team sports its fundamental”, Barei shared with CalvinAyre.com in an exclusive interview.
“A leader needs to give the example and needs to indicate the objectives and the mentality to make sure that the team works together and is able to reach more as a team than as an individual”, he said.
Today’s affiliate-focus panel featured David Da Silva of EasyOdds, a popular London-based odds comparison site, covering issues such as the benefits of creating a long-term business model, the complexity of the affiliate model and what needs to be done to educate operators on the relevance of the affiliate marketing channel.
After his panel, Da Silva shared with CalvinAyre.com his best piece of advice for newer affiliates who wish to get involved with the sports betting industry today.
“I think if it was from our point of view, if we’re offering those users, we’re going to attract users, we’re going to give them something valuable”, he said.
“If you can fixate on what that proposition is, users will come and they will engage and then you will be able to monetize those users through affiliate relationships. If you think of them as your users and able the value proposition first and then secondly the monetization, then I think you’re into the right zone, really”, Da Silva shared.
Brand loyalty and customer acquisition strategies were covered in a panel this afternoon, featuring Dan Towse, MarathonBet’s Head of Brand. MarathonBet, just one sports betting brand in a sea of hundreds, has reaped positive results in their sponsorship of two different football clubs, Manchester City and Girona FC.
“Marathon Bet is still very much of a challenger brand and we know we are”, said Towse.
“Some markets are bigger than others but sponsorships allow us to drive that brand awareness, so key partners such as ManU City where we’re the official betting partner or Girona in Spain who we’re on the front of their shirt, they allow us to drive our brand to a bigger audience. Not just to the fans, but a bigger audience than that, that helps drive trust”, he said.
“If you drive trust for consumers in our industry, that helps them engage with you”, he added.
The day finished off with a popular CEO panel, addressing the common challenges sports betting operators are facing today, including how an established casino brand can make the leap to a sports betting offering. Jesper Karrbink (formerly!) of Mr. Green revealed the lessons he learned when Mr. Green decided to expand from casino-only into casino and sports betting.
“I think being a strong casino brand as Mr. Green, that’s a really, really strong Casino brand, its not that super easy to launch a sports book because you are a casino brand and you have a casino culture”, Karrbrink explained.
“The sportsbook team has really been fighting to find their presence and their place in the organization because everything is run by the casino, casino, casino and that took me with a bit of surprise”, he said.
“We have a fantastic sportsbook team, they’re doing an amazing job, but I thought this would have been easier to switch and have a bit of the glory from the casino brand and getting it over to the sports betting brand, but no, its hard work. And I know that’s also one of the reasons why we bought RedBet which is a strong sportsbook brand and its much, much easier to push that as a sportsbook brand than Mr. Green”, he added.
“But when we found this kind of balance it works fantastically well and everyone is super happy that we have the sportsbook brand, but it took a while”, Karrbrink shared.