Henry Chappell is the CEO at Pitch Marketing Group, and appeared on the ‘Different ball game’ panel at the recent Betting on Sports (BOS) conference in London to discuss how betting can create partnerships with sports to reach a new audience.
We caught up with him to find out about his BOS conference experience, learn more about the Pitch-created ‘Switching Saddles’ campaign, and get his take on the bookmakers’ approach to emerging sports markets and club sponsorship.
SBC: Can you give a quick overview of the work you do at Pitch Marketing Group?
HC: Pitch Marketing Group is a creative marketing agency that specialises in creating distinctive marketing campaigns. We are an integrated agency with 3 divisions: Partnerships, PR and Productions; offering an in-house team of experts across sponsorship, communications, digital, social, influencer marketing and content production.
We have more than a decade of experience working with some of the world’s best brands, sports and entertainment properties and media companies.
SBC: The ‘Switching Saddles’ campaign with Victoria Pendleton generated huge interest in the sports betting industry; have you got any similar campaigns lined up in the near future?
HC: Like the ‘Switching Saddles’ campaign with Victoria Pendleton, we are passionate about creating campaigns with great insight and bold ideas at their heart.
We’ve had a busy few months, and in the last few weeks we’ve successfully activated TAG Heuer’s partnership with the Premier League. Using our deep understanding of football fans and their competitive nature, we created a distinctive integrated campaign which allowed fans to take a Pressure Test of their Premier League knowledge.
The campaign featured strategically designed touch-points aligned to behaviours of fans. They could interact with the campaign across digital, editorial media, experiential events ahead of key fixtures and content with legendary football names including Claudio Ranieri and Freddie Ljungberg.
We also have a number of distinctive brand campaigns in the pipeline but can’t reveal too much about those yet. We’re very excited to partner with brands who are equally as ambitious, brave and forward-thinking.
SBC: Do you think that tighter advertising regulations, and the need to manage product placement with lots of under 18s in the stadium, will make bookmaker sponsorship less attractive to major sports clubs?
HC: With 50% of Premier League clubs having betting companies as their shirt sponsor and most other clubs having betting partners in place, this trend won’t be changing anytime soon. It’s a strong and growing partnership sector for sports clubs.
However, if there are restrictions in advertising, this will have an effect on the structure of betting partnerships. One of the biggest drivers of the partnership is broadcast exposure to a global audience, with a focus on Asia. If that brand visibility through broadcast is reduced, betting companies will need to evaluate how they will connect and whether the partnerships meet their requirements.
For both scenarios, brands shouldn’t solely rely on broadcast awareness. A brand needs to connect with its audiences’ passions through integrated campaigns.
SBC: As the price of player acquisition in football betting continues to grow, do you think more bookmakers will start to focus on emerging sports for a more cost effective route into the market?
HC: Repucom reports that of the estimated €100 million invested by the betting sector in UK sports sponsorship this year, over €80 million goes into football. It gives betting companies access to an engaged, global and passionate audience. Football will continue to dominate for the foreseeable.
Away from football, the opportunity lies in where the sports property is open to innovation and having a betting company at the heart of the innovation. Operating in a very competitive market, innovation is the differentiator for many betting companies. With these sports competing against the broadcast dominance of football, now’s a great time to have a conversation.
SBC: What were you able to take away from mixing with high level delegates in the sports betting industry at Betting on Sports 2016?
HC: We’ve successfully worked with betting partners for a number of years and it’s great to see many of those previous connections, but also meet new contacts. Speaking to both groups, the overall takeout was that it’s getting more and more competitive to secure impactful partnerships and a partnership needs to go beyond media awareness. We’ve been advocating the latter for a number of years as the activation of a partnership is key to success.