Sports

Harry von Behr: Spotlight Sports Group Accelerates US Expansion

Harry von Behr, Managing Director (Sports) Spotlight sports groupIs an exciting time to get involved in the U.S. market through both the company’s evolution, the recent renewal of the Group brand, the key focus areas of 2021, and the successful delivery and deployment of professional content for B2B partners. Let me explain why.Customer website Pickswise

SBC: Today, let’s talk about the updates we made in group branding on three key service areas: betting content, media partnerships and trading solutions. Could you explain a little more about that? Why did you do this?

HVB: Therefore, at the beginning of last year, we conducted an exercise to change the brand of the entire group. It has been renewed as a spotlight sports group for ICE 2020. This reflects significant changes in the business over the last five years, with several acquisitions and several new products launched. line.

So it makes sense to do that. But as with all businesses, shortly thereafter, I think our focus was on more pressing issues in March, April and May last year. Therefore, this update is designed not only to be a continuation of that rebranding, but also to make the value proposition really clear to existing customers and potential new partners.

SBC: Do you think this refresh was always inevitable behind the brand change from the Racing Post Group? Or what do you think followed, as the need for a little more clarification of the service breakdown became apparent?

HVB: I see this as evolution. These brand changes give you insights into your conversations with your customers, their thoughts, and how they understand your product.

So I worked in-house, but I talked to many B2B customers to understand what the Spotlight brand was worth and used it to improve it. Therefore, it is clear to others who are not as aware of us as business, or who are not aware of us beyond the legacy of the racing post we have.

SBC: Does it primarily treat websites as a core resource? Or do you go beyond that in terms of messaging and marketing campaigns that are about to spin off?

HVB: It’s definitely more than that. A website is a place where you can store online information about your business, but it goes a lot deeper. It’s a message from a sales perspective, how to talk to the market, and how to organize a campaign.

It doesn’t make sense to have an external message that doesn’t match how you behave as a business. In other words, it was to make sure everything was connected. Having a new website is clearly just one factor. But it’s definitely more than that.

SBC: So, take a step back. What challenges did you face last year apart from the traditional Racing Post brand?

HVB: It is very important to recognize the business heritage that has been built on the expertise of more than 30 years since the operation of Racing Post. At its core is a way to combine sports lottery data, insights and opinions to enable panthers to make more informed bets.

Rebranding and renewal is really just an extension of the legacy on the UK and Irish markets. But in reality, today we cover all sports in over 70 languages. This was especially important when offering daily betting editorials such as table tennis and esports on the dark days of April and May 2020.

The breadth of our coverage means that we’re less likely to dive into the darkness in terms of moving away from the Racing Post brand, and perhaps less challenging than we thought.

SBC: In a way, was it good that Covid completed the rebranding before starting the race from the calendar?

HVB: Probably helped, yes. It was good that it was a positive move, not a reactive move to the challenge. And it wasn’t an overly ambitious change, but a better reflection of what we were already doing. It may have helped potential new customers as well, but existing customers knew the breadth of what we already had.

SBC: We’ve seen pre-play and in-play content released over the last few years as sports offerings expand. What are the key areas for 2021?

HVB: exactly. Our content offering has undoubtedly evolved over the last few years. Currently across all sports, covering per-game bets, insights, verdicts, forecasts, and statistics-based content that helps inspire operator partner bets.

I think there are probably three important areas when it comes to focus after 2021. First, in terms of the range of sports we cover, we want to be able to provide what our customers want. He said the US sports offering has proven to be popular in terms of college equivalents, in addition to the four major sports. It’s always evolving.

Second, make sure we work with the operator, not the customer-supplier relationship. We are familiar with the problems sportsbooks face with integration and long roadmaps, so it would be nice if we could create a product that would help alleviate some of these challenges. In this regard, we aim to speed up the way we integrate our products to quickly improve operator suggestions.

And third, to ensure that you get the right content in the right format. Taking the retail industry as an example, we have been the market leader in retail content in the UK market for decades, starting with racing, but with sports products such as the Entain brand, Flutter’s Paddy Power and Betfred. It has been deployed. The last two years are enough.

It is very important to make sure that you are adjusting your content to the right channel. I think that applies to us not only in the UK but also internationally. So these are the three main areas. Thank you for their fairly wide range, but I think they are just as important.

SBC: Now let’s talk about the United States. This is clearly a big focus for you. Where are you currently in terms of how you supply your partners?

HVB: Participating in sports betting is a very exciting time given our activities in the United States. From our point of view, we have seen tremendous growth through the US affiliate site Pickswise. This site provides US viewers with daily forecasts, previews, and all sorts of sports betting content. Through its site, we have provided a great number of customers to our US bookmaker partners.

The other side of the coin is the provision of B2B content mentioned above. It basically aims to cover the most popular US sports by replicating betting-inspiring content offered in the UK and other international markets.

We are confident that we will follow the same model in the United States and achieve similar results, just as businesses for Europe are built on providing independent premium content that helps attract bettors to operators. I am.

SBC: Regarding the content of your bet, did you talk about ensuring that you get your bet offer correctly? Is this what you are learning as you progress?

HVB: definitely. It’s simple to assume that what works in one market works in another. Fortunately, we already have experience doing business in many different regions. I think you express it very well, it’s definitely a learning exercise. Some work well with US sports bettors that probably don’t work in other markets, and vice versa.

One of the benefits of our business of having both a customer website such as Pickswise and a B2B model is that we can learn from one and provide information to the other. In essence, it’s a true strength of the British Racing Post. And the acquisitions we made in the European market mean we were able to improve it.

SBC: When did you really start focusing on the Pickswise brand?

HVB: Probably about two years have passed. We started looking at the US market a few years ago like everyone else. Later, when PASPA was deprecated, Pickswise began as a test to better understand the market. We threw some of the best people into it, and we have really great traction with it not only from the perspective of the audience, but also in terms of feedback from the operators about what we are heading for them. I have seen it.

For the past 12 months or so, we have been really doing our best. It has evolved from having the opportunity to learn about the market to actually becoming the group’s true flagship destination.

SBC: But do you think this was the first big push over the Super Bowl?

HVB: It was around last year, but it’s a much smaller and more basic version of today’s. So it’s no exaggeration to say that we were still trying to learn more about how to direct an audience to your site and how to keep that audience on your site, engage, and ultimately convert.

Obviously, last year there were only a handful of live online betting states, but now all relevant states have affiliate and vendor licenses.

SBC: And the last question about the United States. We don’t ask you to predict how many states will regulate your bets, how much money you will make, or that. But what do you expect to be a major driver of engagement for US operators?

HVB: As you say, there are many people who are better than me in estimating the number of states that will be open in the coming years. So I certainly don’t do that. I think what we are seeing now is a big competition in terms of applications and acquisitions. I think this is expected in new markets, especially those in the land acquisition stage where new states are being developed.

As each state matures, it becomes even more important to be able to differentiate its products. It can be found not only in the UK, but also in other mature markets such as many markets in Australia and mainland Europe.

I think that’s what really excites us as a business. To operate in a market where having a unique and differentiated product means winning in the long run.



Harry von Behr: Spotlight Sports Group Accelerates US Expansion

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