Operators must prepare to meet the increased demand for soccer player markets in 2022, as more bettors – driven by trends from the US and advancements in player data, become accustomed to the growing availability of statistics and bet builder products.
Reuben Thomas – Commercial Director at Abelson Info – tells us about Player Incident Pricing & Settlement, or PIPs, and why we can expect a huge industry effort to provide the necessary range of player stats betting options.
SBC: First of all, what is PIPS?
RT: Abelson Info, through its Abelson Odds division, has been the industry’s leading supplier of player related betting markets for global soccer matches since the launch of the ‘GPS’ service in 2013. We provide goalscorer and player card markets, covering 21 different market types, across well over 100 different soccer competitions. In 2021, we extended our service to take these markets in-play.
However, through conversations with our current and prospective clients, alongside our general industry observations, we realised there was a increased appetite for a much broader range of player related markets, such as those related to assists, offsides, shots, shots on target, tackles and passes.
Our belief is that this growing appetite has been driven by three factors. First, the increase in exposure that such statistics have been given through soccer broadcasters over the last few years has been converted to betting interest. Second, the direct and indirect exposure of operators to the maturing US market, where player ‘props’ play such a significant role across traditional ‘US’ sports. And third, the huge rise in the popularity of bet builder, or same game parlay products on the sport, where customers desire a broad range of options on a single game, therefore the variety of metrics listed above is needed.
Through a new partnership with sports intelligence experts Twenty First Group, and our long-term partnership with Stats Perform, our ‘Player Incident Pricing & Settlement’ service or ‘PIPS’ was born. PIPS delivers an end-to-end solution for these markets including, pricing and settlement, for a wide range of players and metrics.
SBC: What roles do you and your partners play in the process?
RT: Twenty First Group’s proprietary models predict the expected number of occurrences for each player, across each metric, given the opposition and each team’s style and formation. We at Abelson then take over the process, managing the lines based on external factors such as injuries, suspensions, transfers, weather and more. Stats Perform’s Opta data is used for settlement giving an accurate and objective source of results.
This combination of inputs provides clients with the benefit of both automated analysis and manual oversight, ensuring an accurate, quick, and reliable service can be provided.
SBC: How much flexibility is given to your clients?
RT: We can deliver output in three ways. First, clients can take ‘margined’ prices configured to a level that the client chooses. Second, should a client ask to take ‘raw’ prices, they can apply margin in a way, or at a level that they choose, we will happily oblige. Finally, we have also exposed our ‘expectancies’ for each player across each metric for clients to integrate into their models.
Traditionally, we have seen minimal interest in taking expectancies instead of prices. However more recently, and largely driven by the rise of bet builders, this has begun to change, and we are of course happy to accommodate.
SBC: Which of the new market types have been and do you expect to be most popular?
RT: The service is new, so we have minimal data to go by. However the ‘Shot on Targets’ markets have proved to be very popular already.
We expect the more attacking and optimistic metrics, especially ‘player assists’ and our player shot method markets to feature prominently going forwards, especially in bet builder products.
Player data is becoming increasingly available to watching soccer audiences, across broadcast and media, including social. With advances in player engagement such as the recent release of Stats Perform’s new Dynamic Betting Stats and Smart Stats Overlays on their streaming content, bettors will become increasingly educated and engaged with these emotive bet offers..
SBC: Which competitions will you cover?
RT: As with all our products, coverage is largely driven by clients’ requests. However, we have decided to launch PIPS with the major European leagues of Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and selected continental and international matches.
We expect that our next batch of leagues will extend outside of Europe, with US Major League Soccer in the pipeline and then the Mexican Liga MX and Brazilian Serie A likely candidates. Adding our engaging player markets for the Mexican league is seen as a key tool to help our clients access the largely untapped domestic Hispanic market and with the regulation of the Brazilian market forthcoming, we do expect this league to considerably grow in importance over the coming years.
SBC: And finally, why should US-facing operators be putting PIPS at the top of their product roadmaps in 2022?
RT: As many US operators have found, soccer is a hugely important betting sport due to several factors. It is by far the most prominent global sport in terms of professional event volume. It is truly a 24/7/365 sport, with the only real dip in coverage coming on Christmas day. It is accessible to US audiences, both in terms of broadcast availability, and ease to understand for newcomers to the sport. It has household name superstars. And finally, the actual following of the sport in the US is higher than many have previously realised, for both mens and womens competitions, and trending in a positive direction.
Coupled with the above is the fact that US audiences, and especially US bettors and Fantasy Sports players have been exposed to player related stats through TV broadcast, and more recently through social media, for many years. This has led to a huge industry effort to provide the necessary range of ‘player prop’ betting options for the four traditional ‘US’ sports. We believe it is inevitable that this desire will soon spread into soccer, and as such, we believe that operators should prepare for this in 2022.
With the World Cup kicking off in November focus on operators to improve their soccer offering to the US audience has already become increasingly important. 2026 sees the World Cup spread across North America and the numbers on soccer betting are expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. Therefore to have a product with global coverage that you can have confidence in is essential.
To hear more about our PIPS service or indeed any of our other products, please visit abelsoninfo.com or contact us via [email protected]