TG Talk: Is the World Cup key for business?

TG Talk: Is the World Cup key for business?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 Posted by Michael Lawson
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Four industry figures discussed this at #BOFCON18 back in March.

The 2018 Russia World Cup kicks off in just 16 days. Excitement from fans and punters alike is building momentum, in anticipation of what is the world’s largest sporting event. But is it all it's cracked up to be from a betting perspective? Taken from a panel at this year’s Betting On Football conference, four C-level industry figures give their views on the tournament’s value.

Conleth Byrne, Managing Director of the Football Pools, said: “I’m a little bit on the fence with this one. I’m in quite a unique position with the Football Pools, with 90% of our revenues coming from football. Normally, in a standard non-tournament year, June and July are quite a challenge with regards to maintaining customer engagement and returning additional margins.

“So for me it’s a great opportunity, we’ve got an enormous amount of plans, from the point of view of delivering daily games which we wouldn’t normally do. A lot of the games are perfect from a timing perspective, they’re all on terrestrial TV, and there’ll be a lot of genuine customer interest, so we’re very much trying to build on that across what is usually a dry season for us.

“From a sportsbook operator point of view, I’m less convinced. There always seems to be a halo effective in August/September when you do see a major spike, and of course it’s probably another four years of customers available to you. It’s got some power, but I think in a world where compliance is key, bonuses are a bit lazy from a marketing perspective. It’ll need smarter targeting, and much more clever value added for the customer.”

Marcus Brennan, Founder and CEO of BetBright, said: “I think from our point of view, we don’t think the World Cup is [key for business]. It is an event, it’s something to shout about, but you could say it’s flies crawling up a wall. That’s being very derogatory about it, but in reality it’s one month, it’s a handful of football games - if you rely on something that happens every four years you probably don’t have a viable business I’d suggest. We’re going to take a step back from it. I don’t believe that the return on investment is there, I think it’s a bit like Cheltenham in that sense.”

Jesper Karrbrink, CEO of MRG, said: “I tend to agree with Marcus, we spend much too much focus on a four-week event rather than the full 52 of the year. But on the other hand, it also drives the business - everyone wants to be involved in this hype, so we see lots of innovations, a lot of development that we can use further on, and we need these spikes to kick ourselves in our lazy butts now and then. It’s a good thing, but it’s a bit overhyped.”

Markus Peuler, CEO of MyBet, said: “There is a lot of over-expectations which are probably not good, but I think it’s also a matter of how big you are and how much you spend. The noise is big around the World Cup, and for smaller operator such as us, it doesn’t make so much sense to spend a lot on that event alone. But if you are capable and your budget is big enough, then you can probably make a difference and build your brand, but these are rare cases.”

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