Across the world, fans are preparing themselves for a long spring without any live sport to entertain them. We all have our fingers crossed that the summer will see things back on track, but right now the Euros have been rescheduled for 2021 and the Olympics are very much in doubt.
For sports betting and gaming operators, it’s an unprecedented situation. There has simply never been this many competitions cancelled before.
There are a lot of very disappointed bettors out there right now! And many sportsbooks are figuring out their best moves in the immediate future.
How can operators keep players interested?
All of this chaos begs the question; what are operators supposed to do without live sports, the bedrock of the industry?
It’s important to acknowledge that this crisis is, of course, bigger than any one industry or sport. It is first and foremost a tragedy and we must all remain sensitive to that. The decisions to cancel and postpone sporting events have all been made for the right reasons.
But sports betting operators still need to keep fans engaged and drive revenue.
Amidst all of the uncertainty, the world continues to spin. Life goes on, albeit with some notable changes to our daily lives. As consumers, our tastes and interests haven’t changed. Across every vertical, the brands that find new ways to serve and provide value to us are the ones who will weather this storm and come out the other side.
Those who enjoy gambling are still eager to play if only to distract themselves temporarily from the stress and worry this pandemic has brought on.
Here are some of our top tips for the next few weeks and beyond.
There may be less to talk about and fewer markets to bet on, but you cannot afford to stop communicating with your players.
Over the next few weeks, keep connected with your audience, even if that just means sharing news and updates.
Staying top of mind should be your number one priority. Sport will eventually resume, make sure that bettors return to you when it does.
Double down on your online casino games
From a commercial perspective, the most obvious thing right for sportsbooks is to start heavily promoting casino, bingo and other online games.
Now is the perfect time to start offering free spins/chips or money-match offers to new or dormant players.
Channels like in-app messages and onsite messages are the best ways to engage players when they visit your properties, looking for some action.
If they can’t bet on their favourite sports then be sure to divert their attention to another product.
Shift focus to virtual sports to keep fans playing
Additionally, we recommend pushing the virtual sports markets.
Virtual horse racing and football is something that a lot of the big vendors have been toying with for a couple of years. With live events being called off, now is the time to really get behind those plans.
Segment your audience based on their betting history and start sending them odds on a relevant virtual market. Not all of them will bite, sure, but plenty will.
There are some things to be aware of here, though. Traditional sports fans who are new to virtual sports will need to be educated about it. So start thinking about creating some educational content (especially video) to share as well. They may have doubts about how it all works and how winners are decided etc.
The average ticket-size is likely to be low at first, as bettors familiarise themselves with the product and get a feel for it, but bet-spend will increase in time.
It won’t be long before they appreciate the excitement and tension virtual sports can create.
A strong mobile strategy is essential
European operators are way ahead of the curve here, but the U.S. is catching up. There’s no argument that mobile gambling is a massive revenue-driver for brands who can get it right. And in this current crisis, it’s essential.
With physical casinos set to close for the foreseeable future, those based in states where mobile gambling is legal (or at least partially legal) now have an opportunity to reach players on their smartphones and tablets.
European operators should be redoubling their efforts here too though. Betting shops are closed and there’s no telling when they will re-open. There’s a huge volume of players that will now be looking to get online, perhaps for the first time.
It’s never been more important to help players get registered online and placing their first deposit.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more advice and looking at some key use cases to help you keep players engaged. In the meantime, get in touch with any question you have.