John Harlow – Perform Opta 3D: Why visualisation is a key dynamic for bookmakers

Having launched Betsson AB as the first betting customer of Opta 3D football visualisations services, SBC speaks to John Harlow SVP of Betting for Perform Group, on why industry stakeholders are placing a higher emphasis on delivering immersive product capabilities to boost player engagement.

Harlow details to SBC the new trading and user dynamics brought to market by Opta 3D, a product which aims to bring a unique visual edge for its client partners…


SBC: Hi John, thanks for the interview. Can you detail to SBC readers Opta 3D’s journey as match visualisation service, from its initial stages, through to its partnerships with sports media owners and finally to its integration with bookmakers?

John Harlow: We worked closely with all stakeholders, media organisations and in particular our betting customers to develop this product. It’s this approach to product development that has helped us create a product which adds a unique point of difference for bookmakers and provides their customers with an experience which is exciting, captivating and enhances how they follow, bet and enjoy sports.

SBC: Why are bookmakers placing a higher emphasis on in-play visualisation dynamics for their football betting markets?

JH: New entertaining and captivating experiences means a better engagement for customers and a more enjoyable betting functionalities which in turn drives ROI across a broad range of KPI’s. Accurate and detailed information is critical for bettors and traders to trust the content, Opta is renowned and trusted by bookmakers, broadcasters and fans globally and it’s this trust which enhances the betting experience.

Bettors want more and more information, but they don’t necessarily want to be the ones to go and get it. They want the experts to curate the content for them and deliver it to where they are. This obviously helps bookmakers too, who are in a constant battle for attention and don’t want you to have to go off-site to find information, potentially not coming back!!

As competition within the global betting industry continues to remain highly competitive, the above point is becoming even more important and critical for bookmakers to address. Opta data enables bookmakers to offer a broader range of betting opportunities. Request a bet style markets and player specific markets are becoming more and more popular, which incorporate statistics like shots, cards, tackles and passes. To be able to follow these bets in-play from our data being visualised means that they ultimately become more entertaining, which in turn encourages further bet placement.

SBC: From a development perspective, how have you used both Opta and Perform capabilities to build this visualisation product?

JH: Bringing this truly innovative product to the betting industry has been a group effort across Perform divisions.

Our understanding of sports fans around the world thanks to our global sports portals and products throughout Perform means we are uniquely placed and able to combine customer behaviour information into our products. However, a product like this wouldn’t work if it wasn’t for the unmatched quality and depth of data provided by our Opta data analysts, and due to our history of creating and supplying engaging betting products in to the industry for the last 10 years, we can readily get this product in front of bettors through existing integrations.

SBC: Are Opta 3D’s features solely focused on optimising user in-play engagement, or can the service be used for further bookmaker operations dynamics such as retention, marketing or player acquisition?  

JH: The draw of our Opta 3D visualisation for operators is that they deliver advantages across each of these points. Visualisations powered by rich, deep data provide bookmakers customers with an unparalleled way to follow matches and the ability to effectively understand the flow of a game or influential players. This aids betting decisions and keeps customers on a bookmakers site for longer. As the first supplier to deliver a visualisation as detailed into the betting industry, they also act as a point of differentiation which aids marketing and player acquisition efforts.

SBC:  Finally how do you see Opta 3D developing for sports betting operators in the coming months?

JH: We continue to work hard on how we support our global customers in taking advantage of our unique sports data capabilities through our Opta and RunningBall brands. While we don’t want to give too much away, utilisation of more granular data is something we see becoming more prominent. This opens new betting avenues for bookmakers and customers as new markets become more relevant and enticing for bettors, simply the data to do these in the past hasn’t existed and we’re excited about helping support a new era of betting.

We’re now close to evolving it into a product which creates a genuinely different dimension for bettors to watch a match, with brand new betting experiences that we think will revolutionise betting on sport. We’re excited about the prospect of having everything in place for the World Cup, so our clients can take full advantage during the biggest betting event of the year.


John Harlow – SVP of Betting Perform Group 

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