Rob Lee: Spotlight Sports – Winter World Cup to challenge bookmakers product aptitude
With 250 days until the first-ever Winter World Cup, Spotlight Sports Group Senior VP of Technology Rob Lee has taken time to discuss how important it is to get your product right in the run-up to the tournament. Lee, who recently joined the group from Sky Bet, also outlines the value of sportsbooks’ in-play products with games being televised around the clock…
SBC: It’s a very different ‘World Cup year’ this year with the event taking place in November. With 250 days until the big kick-off, how should operators be preparing?
Rob Lee: For the first time ever, the World Cup comes right in the middle of the traditional European season. For sportsbooks, this means there is a one-off chance to acquire and retain the interest of customers consistently from the beginning of August, through a major international tournament, then right through to the end of the traditional season in late May.
Operators must seize this opportunity to ensure their platform is optimised to capitalise on increased engagement. With matches likely to garner huge tv audiences, dual screening will be a key part of the fan experience. Meaning in-play betting is the number one opportunity to maximise your audience value. In-play content has typically been limited to match visualisations and scoreboards. However, with such a high TV presence, operators should consider what “value add” content customers will be looking for to accompany the TV broadcast experience.
The popularity of bet builders and same game multi bets leaves more opportunities for sportsbooks. Player markets and some of the more in-depth team markets are not typically well catered to from a content perspective so there is certainly an opportunity to add greater depth in these increasingly popular areas to engage customers.
SBC: Using events to acquire customers has long been the strategy for sportsbooks, but for something like the World Cup how difficult is it to retain those customers?
RL: Around a major tournament, there is a plethora of content on offer from both bookmakers, as well as more traditional media outlets. Customer experience expectations are heightened during major tournaments and festivals in order to maintain their focus and maximise value. It is a necessity to enhance your product and marketing touchpoints with interesting, engaging and insightful analysis. If you cannot provide what the customer is looking for, their attention will be elsewhere.
SBC: In-play football betting is hugely popular in the UK and across Europe. How can sportsbooks create a better user experience in-play?
RL: Typically in-play editorial is limited. However, with such strong coverage from a broadcast perspective, bookmakers need to go further to provide bet specific analysis which enhances the live betting experience. It’s simply not enough to expose betting fans to generic possession stats or XG and expect that will be sufficient. Regular bettors crave betting specific betting-led content.
Studies have shown how important this can be. Research conducted by Spotlight Sports Group with Lean Convert (January 2022) found that 20% of people who are supplied with in-play tips will add one or more of these selections to their bet slip. We also saw huge increases in customers using in-play analysis to inform a betting decision, which outlines the importance of offering it integrating into your platform.
SBC: Spotlight Sports Group has a history of producing expert editorial content through the Racing Post. How does that expertise translate to in-play football betting?
RL: Our Superfeed In-play employs a sophisticated algorithm that suggests thousands of live content options. However, the logic we have created works to supply only the highest quality analysis based on on-field events, which add genuine insight for bettors and do not conflict with a previous suggestion.
Additionally, whilst Superfeed works in real-time to supply tips via AI, every single variation of the written tip has been manually checked by the superb editorial team that works across a number of Spotlight Sports Group B2C and B2B titles. This really ensures that the tips read as genuine, well-informed suggestions that are highly valued by regular bettors.
SBC: Spotlight Sports Group launched Superfeed just under a year ago, how has it been going?
RL: The most pleasing thing about the product since launch is being able to validate our product in terms of its engagement and the impact it has on end customers. From a variety of tests, we have found that consumers value our tips, to the extent that up to 24% of those that see them add a selection to bet slip. We have also noticed an increase in dwell time and a 14% increase in bet volume.
In terms of partnerships, we’ve extended agreements with some of the biggest names in the industry including bet365, Better Collective and Catena to supply Superfeed content. We’re in an excellent position to maximise audience value for both publishers and sportsbooks with Superfeed.
SBC: The World Cup is the biggest football tournament this year, what else has Spotlight Sports Group got in store for the event?
RL: We’ll be using the expertise of our 200+ content creators to build concepts, products and engagement that can touch any platform our B2B customers desire. We, of course, have Superfeed pre-play which will provide insights and verdicts on every game throughout the World Cup as well as deliver the best stats and data throughout the tournament.
And in recent months, we have had huge success in creating interactive event hubs, fully equipped with live odds, add to bet slip functionality, interactive tools and high-quality editorial content which are now being used by some of the industry’s biggest names.
Finally, we take our experience into the social and CRM space to create high impact betting content to share via social channels and email. The World Cup is a once in four years opportunity to reach, acquire and retain customers. It is vitally important that operators and publishers are thinking about how they can engage those customers now and Spotlight Sports Group is best placed to help support.
Rob Lee – VP of Technology – Spotlight Sports Group