Andrew Morgan, Director of International Strategy at ICS Mediagroup, talks about how sportsbook operators can use content to drive new player sign-ups during the Rugby World Cup
With the new football season now underway, the next big opportunity for online sportsbook operators to acquire and reactivate players is the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in Japan on Friday 20th September.
It is the first time that the tournament has been held in Asia and is expected to be broadcast to more than 800 million viewers from 217 countries around the world. As with any major sporting tournament, bookmakers want to leverage this and cash in.
But the 2019 Rugby World Cup presents some unique challenges for sportsbook brands, not least that games are taking place on the other side of the world. The time difference has the potential to make it difficult for European audiences to keep up with the action taking place.
Some games will be broadcast at times when they can be watched by audiences in the UK, but for those games that are not, people will have to do their own research to stay on top of the results coming in. For sportsbook brands, this should be seen as an opportunity and not a set-back.
By prioritising content, and publishing and broadcasting the information audiences are seeking, they not only stand to retain those who are active across their sites, but also acquire those searching for information about the tournament.
More often than not, punters searching for information will land on the websites of big-name sports media publishers, but a growing number of these now operate their own sportsbooks or act as affiliates for other betting brands.
By creating content – across written, audio and video formats – operators can prevent their customers from going elsewhere for information and potentially losing them to a rival brand.
Some are already doing this and have created comprehensive content hubs as a result. For those that haven’t, below I will discuss the different types of content that can be created and why it is so effective at engaging and retaining customers.
Let’s start with written content:
Written content should form the foundation of all content marketing activity. Types of written content include news stories, match previews, match reviews and analysis, player interviews, betting guides, pundit predictions and more.
News and match updates should be published live and shared via social media. Match reports should be written immediately after the game and published without delay so that European audiences can access the information as and when they need to.
In the case of the Rugby World Cup, some of the games will be taking place early morning and throughout the day so fans will be checking social media and news/information websites on their way to work, on a break, while on lunch, etc.
Audio content drives engagement:
Audio content, most commonly taking the radio broadcast format, is a powerful retention tool, allowing rugby fans to listen to an off-tube match commentary whilst checking out all the latest in-play betting.
By offering independent radio commentary, tailored to the needs of punters, sportsbooks allow their customers to become engaged with both the match and their associated live betting.
Radio broadcasts work particularly well on mobile, allowing listeners to tune in while doing something else. Perhaps they are driving to work, taking a coffee break or even listening while they carry out a desk-based office task.
What’s more, radio broadcasts – as well as written and video content – can include calls to action that encourage listeners to bet on the current game or a game taking place later that day. They can then do this from their mobile device.
Video content is now an absolute must:
The need to create video content has risen in line with the popularity of social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are often the first places people go to for information, particularly for updates on sporting events.
For the Rugby World Cup, operators should look to create video blasts that can be posted during the game as well as recap videos and analysis clips. They should also consider creating Gillette Soccer Saturday style pundit shows with guests providing off-tube commentary on that day’s games.
The power of content:
Sportsbook operators can underestimate the power of content when it comes to acquiring and retaining players, preferring to offer bonuses and promotions, but savvy brands will see that content can do so much more and over a much longer period of time.
Not only can it engage and educate punters during the Rugby World Cup, but it can also be used to keep them active with the betting brand long after. But with the first game kicking off in just a few weeks’ time, some will need to up their game!