Sports betting

What to expect from this summer’s European football championship

| By Elena Carruthers
As Europe’s largest football tournament approaches, there comes new opportunities for operators to capitalize on the engagement and momentum that comes with it.

Dalraj Bahia is Managing Director of Operations within Sportradar’s Betting & Gaming vertical. Working alongside Sportradar’s Chief Product Officer, Dalraj helps manage a global team to lead and develop  a suite of Betting & Gaming products. Previously, Dalraj worked within the Direct Private Equity team at CPP Investments, where he focused on lead and co-lead investments across a variety of sectors

With the delayed European football championships finally set to get underway this June, operators can expect a much-needed boost in revenues given the pent-up demand for top level, international tournament football amongst fans. 

Given the significance of the competition amongst fans, Sportradar’s Dalraj Bahia expects them to respond in much the same way they did when live sport returned after the initial lockdown last year. 

The return of the Bundesliga, the first football league to resume play, delivered a significant upturn in betting activity, with turnover increasing 112% compared to the opening day of the season the previous August.

Mobile-first

The past 18 months have been particularly tough on retail operators as lockdown and social distancing measures impact footfall on the high street. 

And, while the UK nations are easing their Covid restrictions to enable punters to go back in store, lockdown has only served to accelerate the shift towards digital betting platforms.

“With fewer people placing bets via desktop, heading into the tournament, the priority for operators will be on providing an offering that is optimised for mobile. A mobile-first approach that considers the small screen, is functional for the end-user, and provides an engaging betting experience will be key,” says Bahia.

An effective mobile offering is all the more important given that the tournament will be broadcast free to air in most countries, providing operators with the opportunity to maximise the second screen viewing experience and go direct to customers with a reliable, real-time offering. 

“Mobile will also play a part in driving engagement with fans. Stimulation tools optimised for mobile devices, like our Live Match Tracker, for example, are a key part of the product mix for operators and are having a growing influence on betting behaviour and lead to increased engagement levels,” he says.

“Stimulation tools have a positive impact on consumer dwell time and, with match information in one place, reduce the likelihood of customers navigating away from the site.”

Retention

Ahead of every major football tournament, it is common to see aggressive offerings from operators as they look to bring in new customers with sign-up bonuses and promotions. 

Customer acquisition can be costly, and at a time when marketing budgets are under scrutiny, retention is increasingly at the forefront of operators’ minds.

“By tapping into their customer data and insights, operators can increase the lifetime value of their base. Adopting a personalised CRM strategy that engages with customers according to their predicted value and provides personalised recommendations and journeys relevant to the customer’s known interests, preferences, and behaviours should help reduce player churn, as will inspire them to engage with the relevant sporting moments” explains Bahia.

“Online video advertising will be another key component for marketers ahead of the June 11th kick-off. Having a  growth medium accompanied with  marketing strategies that include video ads increases the likelihood of converting punters into depositing customers. Research shows that revenue can grow up to 49% faster compared to competitors who do not use video advertising.”

For operators looking to maximise their budgets, deliver efficient campaigns, and reduce ad waste, the highly targeted approach of programmatic video advertising can be optimised to deliver efficient CPC, CPM, and CPcV.  

The effect of COVID

The global pandemic has delayed the competition by 12 months, building much anticipation around the effect this will have on the players, teams, and gameplay.

The players, especially those who play their trade in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, have played a long season with fixtures moved and rescheduled in order to get games in front of fans during lockdown.

Bahia explains that player fatigue will be a factor and something the organisers have factored in with the introduction of bigger squads and the option to have five substitutes rather than three.   

“While there are always upsets in tournaments of this nature, we’re expecting to see at least one of the favourites fall down early in the competition. The domestic seasons and European cup contests all wrap up in late May, giving very little preparation time for the competing teams”, says Bahia.

As live sports return, operators are looking ahead to try to take a strategic approach to meeting their customers’ needs. After a tumultuous year, outcomes are more unpredictable than ever but taking a data-driven approach provides the best chance for operators to maximise the engagement opportunities at hand.


For more insights from Dalraj Bahia on predictions for the European championships, sign up for our upcoming webinar: “Maximising the opportunity for sportsbook operators.

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