Could operators be about to embrace VAR based promotions?

Could operators be about to embrace VAR based promotions?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 Posted by Joseph Streeter
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Paddy Power offered a VAR special for punters on the FA Cup 5th round

The debate surrounding Video Assistant Refereeing (VAR) arose once again last weekend, when Juan Mata’s goal was controversially disallowed after VAR ruled the Spanish midfield was offside.

The goal not only meant that the debate over whether VAR is good for the game would rumble on, but it also meant that Paddy Power’s promotion landed for punters, as the operator offered money back on first or anytime goalscorers, if the goal was ruled out because of VAR.

Jeevan Jeyaratnam, Head of Compilation at Abelson Info, told “I think it was inevitable that this would happen so won’t be claiming creative IP on the suggestion! That said it was no surprise that Paddy Power became the first brand to offer this concession, their marketing strategy tends to lean towards these kind of ‘punter friendly’ money-back specials’.

“It has given them some great publicity with, likely, a relatively painless downside. The game, live on BT Sport, played at the popular Saturday tea-time slot and would have benefitted from a decent TV audience keen to see some quality football on a weekend without the lure of the Premier League.

"Had the disallowed VAR goal been the ‘first goal’ of the game, and/or Lukaku’s then the gamble may well have proved expensive. Mata and the ‘second goal’ of the game was ideal. They would have only had to pay out on Mata anytime backers- likely short in numbers this season.”

He added: “The ramifications of offering these concessions are such that if the policy isn’t continued in future it is likely to cause punter antipathy where it previously didn’t exist. Paddy Power will have considered this and decided the upside outweighs the downside, though it is very hard to add solid numbers to these calculations given the nascent nature of this technology in the game.

“Operators each have different USPs, there will be some that follow Paddy’s lead but others that either tweak the idea or dismiss it entirely, not wishing to be second to a concession now associated with Paddy Power.”

With VAR having been confirmed for the World Cup, it remains to be seen whether this first of its kind promotion will open the door for operators to push for more initiatives and promotions in a bid to stand out in a highly competitive market.

Speaking before the FA Cup tie, Marketing & Brand Director Michelle Spillane stated: “Paddy Power’s objective here is to bring our brand personality to a contentious topic – VAR.”

Totally Gaming Says: The introduction of VAR into football is likely to slow down the exponential rise of in play betting; therefore operators will inevitably look to retrieve some benefits from the introduction of the new technology. The trial of the new promotion was undoubtedly successful as the use of VAR stole the headlines after the game.

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