Getting ready for a new-look campaign
Ross Timmins, Founder of Talk Gambling was fortunate enough to meet Alex Beecham, Managing Director at Checkd Media to discuss how operators have geared up for the start of the 2023-24 football season, as the sport continues to evolve both in England and overseas.
So Alex, with no men’s international tournament either in the summer or middle of winter in 2023-24, what is different this time in terms of how affiliates and operators have approached the new season?
It’s the first time we have ever come off the back of a winter World Cup, so it feels slightly different this summer. I think everyone was ready for the downtime to recharge ahead of the new season. It means fresh budgets on the operator side for new commercial deals and stronger offers available for affiliates.
I think we’ll see the momentum from 2022-23 continue from the off in the 2023-24 season, as it’s been a long summer without men’s football. The return of the winter break in January will be interesting this season as well, as affiliates and operators will have to go again after the break.
Particularly in the UK given evolving regulations, is the industry having to work smarter in order to attract and retain bettors with enticing offers?
This is already evident, with operators trialing more aggressive bet boosts and moving away from the legacy free bet rewards. Pricing will play an increasingly crucial role in my opinion and it’s something our own communities look for in bet builders. Certain bookmakers can be strong on certain markets, which sets them apart in bet builders and gives them a real edge.
New free-to-play products will continue to be a vehicle to retain and reactivate users and we’re seeing more operators wanting support with education or builds of their products this season.
What is the appetite in North America for placing bets on English football?
It’s definitely on the up, with more talk in social channels from betting personalities since the World Cup. The Premier League and Champions League are both competitions with interest due to the international player recognition and recent summer tournaments held in the US.
We saw strong organic growth on our own FootyAccumulators.com site from North America last season and we expect this to continue to grow. Catering to a North American audience through UK football sites is key, with the geo-targeting of relevant ads and propositions.
How do you expect the major competitions to play out this season and how does the performance (or non-performance) of major club sides affect betting revenues?
The quality in the Premier League is becoming less about the top four and more the top seven or eight teams. This results in more high-quality fixtures and competition at the top of the table, which is only going to help drive growth in betting revenue. The shift to Friday night games is another opportunity for the industry to drive revenue away from the typical weekend or midweek rounds of fixtures.
What (if any) new betting trends do you expect to see come to the fore this season?
I expect to see more statistics and data-driven picks in the UK this season. We’re seeing the appetite for data-led bets and model algorithm selections. Coupling stats-driven selections with operator-led boosts will lead to increased bet conversion. This is something we have been doing for a while in our Betting Hub app with our proprietary Smart Acca tool.
The betting strategy continues to shift towards single-match and cross-match bet builders, made up of several different markets and some more niche ones that were also trending last season – cards, fouls, passes and tackles, for example.
Finally, how attractive do you see the emerging football leagues – the MLS and Saudi Pro League in particular – becoming as betting propositions?
If I had been asked this question last season, I would have laughed. Obviously, the Lionel Messi move to Inter Miami and the MLS has been followed by several high-profile players joining the Saudi Pro League, with huge media coverage surrounding both developments.
I suspect we’ll continue to see more players joining the Pro League before the transfer window shuts, with the window in Saudi open for an additional week compared to Europe. Once the media starts to get behind player performances and broadcasts games more, then we’ll naturally see these leagues pick up more betting activity and widespread interest.
I think it’s inevitable bookmakers will start to push these fixtures with relevant boosts and additional markets and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
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