In early June 2022 the sports betting world met the Betting Innovation Centre, a collaboration combining the modelling and trading capabilities of Sporting Solutions with Stats Perform and its Opta brand’s content, product and AI operations.
Now the Betting Innovation Centre has confirmed its first product set is ready for operators to start integrating. Called Opta BetBuilder Plus and built initially for football, the offering aims to provide an easy-to-integrate, superior betting entertainment in time for this year’s World Cup, with a focus on player propositions.
To find out more about the Opta BetBuilder Plus and what it means for sportsbooks, we spoke to Shane Gannon, SVP Partnerships at Stats Perform.
SBC: What differences will operators and bettors see with Opta BetBuilder Plus?
Shane Gannon: Good question. Firstly, our operator customers have been asking us to build them all-in-one betting experiences that display our renowned Opta player stats contextually alongside associated odds they can trust, including doing so in correlated markets like same-game accumulators / parlays / multis.
They know that this will make football betting more entertaining for more of their users, but they know doing it themselves is excessively time-consuming. Happy to come on to why that is later.
They know the source for player markets has to be Opta, because only Opta is seen and trusted globally everywhere fans follow the game. And Opta BetBuilder Plus is the only major B2B service utilising Opta.
So at heart, what the Opta BetBuilder Plus means is operators of all sizes will be able to offer their customers connected experiences featuring compelling Opta-powered player propositions like shots and passes, for example as singles, but also injected into bet builders and pre-combined same-game feeds and interfaces.
And because operators don’t just want this pre-game, we’re also delivering these markets in-play. Because bettors need context to quickly find and place the right bet, as well as track their bet and make cash-out decisions, we’ve made it easy to connect markets and selections to Opta front-end stats and insights. Operators can offer such experiences for all the big leagues but also their local hero players and teams.
Because their traders will have real confidence in the player prop and game-state pricing, so they can keep more markets open longer, for more games, and be creative with their boosts and promotions.
As mentioned, bettors will find all of the above whether their preference is bet builders, pre-combined same-game multis or singles. There is a proposition to suit all users. And finally, operators don’t want lengthy integration times, so we’ve addressed that too.
Evolving and utilising player propositions like this has been very hard for most operators to achieve for most sports but especially football, meaning bettors have had shallow experiences to date.
We have solved this with the Opta BetBuilder Plus. No-one else has the ingredients to do similar. It means operators of all sizes can finally create brilliant football betting experiences, and every bettor can quickly find and enjoy the most entertaining bet for them.
SBC: Why has it been hard to create football betting experiences like these before now?
SG: The amount of correlated data involved for 22 players (and subs) in multiple stats categories across multiple teams and leagues, means a serious amount of time and complexity to process, store, model, to trade, to map the right stats in the right place on the front end, to test, to expand. Then add in doing this in-play!
The Betting Innovation Centre solves these challenges through a unique combination of trusted granular and structured data, and trusted elite modelling and trading, under the same roof.
Sporting Solutions have been offering spread markets on player propositions for twenty years, since the 2002 World Cup, for Sporting Index. So their experience and knowledge in the space is second to none.
This dramatically accelerates the value of our Opta data for operators, because they can offer a level of pricing they trust on a great number of in-game events, and because we’ve connected the markets deeply into Stats Perform’s ecosystem, they can show the stats to inform and track those bets right alongside.
Stats Perform also has one of the industry’s largest AI teams and they are a critical piece of enabling us to leverage our vast structured sports data repository to deliver the Opta BetBuilder Plus for thousands of players in thousands of live games.
So the Betting Innovation Centre brings two genuine pioneers of sports betting together into one connected stream of easy-to-integrate outputs.
As a result, Opta BetBuilder Plus exponentially speeds up time to market, meaning more operators can offer best-in-class player proposition and same-game experiences, sooner than they could ever have imagined, including in time for the World Cup.
SBC: Why the focus on easy, rapid integration?
SG: Running a sportsbook is super hard. There’s so many things product and trading directors want to do, but they have jammed roadmaps dealing with functional and non-functional changes. One year’s development time to launch a major new feature is perhaps par; three years happens frequently. So if we can reduce their development time, save their resources, that is a huge value to the sportsbook operators.
That’s why ‘easy to integrate’ has been our mantra throughout the development of Opta BetBuilder Plus.
Between Stats Perform and Sporting Solutions we have hundreds of existing sportsbook integrations, front- and back-end. Because our respective IDs are mapped together, an integration with either of us, even an inactive one, means a very fast integration and also a very easy connection of the odds into other existing Stats Perform products.
We understand the opportunities to make it simple to add Opta BetBuilder Plus, and to maximise the availability and utility of it.
SBC: Why start with football?
Football is the world’s biggest betting sport. But the difficulties above mean that if you drill into it, the actual variety and richness in the football betting experience contrasts poorly to other sports, especially US sports, for pre-game at least:
- There are a very small range of player propositions in the majority of today’s football bet builders.
- There is a very limited set of in-play player propositions.
- There is no data to help support or track bettor selections.
- Operators lack sufficient confidence in same-game pricing from other B2B providers to utilise and promote those experiences fully.
So we’ve started with football, but we will quickly add other sports. Bet builders have been around for a while and this is an opportunity for operators to do them better.
SBC: What would executives from other industries learn from what you see in sports betting?
SG: Like other businesses in the entertainment sector, betting focuses on engagement driving transactions, not the other way around.
There is a huge emphasis on retaining someone’s attention, on creating something that gives them a feeling of excitement and delight, that they want to spend time with.
I think industries outside sports betting would benefit from that kind of focus on customer experience and engagement; it’s what the revenue flows from. If there’s a revenue problem, that’s a customer problem, which betting operators see as being an engagement problem.
If you only focus on the transaction and not on the feeling you create for your user, not whether they are engaged, not what will bring them back again, that’s not sustainable.
That seems to be a first principle for the sportsbooks we work with and I think external industries would benefit from a similar approach.