Brand ambassadors and sponsorship deals are regularly used by betting operators as a key marketing strategy. However, maximising the reach of these deals is a conundrum that many are still yet to fully solve.
With the recent acquisition of Carl Frampton, online casino and betting operator 32Red strengthened its already extensive portfolio of brand ambassadors, in the process affirming its strong partnership with one of the sport’s most decorated promoters, Frank Warren.
As a brand ambassador for 32Red, the featherweight fighter joins elite company alongside renowned jockeys Jamie Spencer, Paddy Brennan and Bryan Cooper, as well as his domestic boxing rival Josh Warrington.
Director of Brand & Acquisition at 32Red Gerry Murray underlined that in Frampton and Warrington 32Red have been “fortunate enough to align the brand with two successful boxers who have the unique ability to generate a loyal and passionate following, as well as having right mix of genuine talent which means they’ll be competing in meaningful fights and therefore give the brand the exposure that those events bring about.”
The partnership between Warrington and 32Red is a natural one given that Warrington is very closely linked to the Leeds United fan-base, who are also partners with 32Red, added to that both boxers are promoted by Frank Warren, whose events on BT Sport are sponsored by the online operator.
Detailing further why both Frampton and Warrington fit well with 32Red’s wider sponsorship portfolio and strategy, Murray credited both sportsmen with possessing “engaging personalities” which he stated reflects the brand in a “positive way.”
Murray also described how 32Red ensures that its portfolio of sponsorship deals are utilised to the full potential, lauding athletes from boxing and racing in the process: “Currently, the two areas where we have individual endorsement deals are racing and boxing and fortunately these are two sports where those involved are happy to work with sponsors collaboratively.
“That’s certainly the case with the jockeys and boxers we work with. As long as we’re sensitive to the fact that their ‘day job’ takes precedence, then we rarely struggle to get access for the production of content or sponsored events.
“We also make a conscious decision to plan on securing deals in sports we believe provide the right audience and platform for us and then we stick with these. We’ve done that over a number of years with racing sponsorships, our football club sponsorships have been multi-season agreements and more recently we’ve replicated that with boxing. By agreeing longer term partnerships we can dedicate budget and resource to these partnerships and try and build a consistent association with the property over time. We’ve generally found that this approach is far more effective than one off, ad hoc event deals.”
32Red’s sponsorship deals also extend into the sport of football, as prime sponsors of Rangers FC, Leeds United FC and Swansea City FC. Murray explained why 32Red specifically chose these clubs to associate with: “There’s a number of reasons these club sponsorships work well for us. First and foremost, 32Red is primarily a casino focused brand and football offers the highest volume opportunity to reach an audience who over-index for the likelihood to play casino games.
“Secondly, all the teams we’ve worked with have a significant fanbase which clearly gives us a great platform to build on. This naturally means regular televised games, high matchday attendances and a large and active social following. All ticks when we’re looking at partnerships in football or any sport.
“We’ve then tried to be focused on securing deals with teams who have the ability to dominate their local and regional sports media – this means that we’ll naturally pick up a significant amount of branding across TV, Print and digital all year round. 32Red rarely go a day without appearing on the back page of the Scottish papers or The Yorkshire Evening Post as a result of the Leeds and Rangers deals and that wasn’t a fluke.
“Effective measurement of sponsorships is always a discussion point, but by getting those elements right, we’ve seen growth in the regional areas around our sponsorships outstrip UK growth overall, so we’re confident in the impact this is having on the business.”
Murray then went onto emphasise how 32Red maximises the benefits of being a prime sponsor for football clubs with such ardent supporters: “It’s got to be about trying to strike the right balance between delivering your commercial objectives and appreciating the emotional link the fans have with the club you’re sponsoring.
“We obviously want Leeds fans to open an account with 32Red, but rather than just bombard their database with standard offers, we try and tailor those to ensure they’re relevant to the fanbase and also rotate them with less overtly ‘direct response’ content. When we do run a promotion to their fans, we want them to be open to hearing what we have to say, as opposed to sick of the sight of the same old ‘sign-up now’ message.
“I think Leeds is a good example of how we’ve made that work. You may have noticed the 32Red logo isn’t in red on the Leeds shirts due to their rivalry with Man United. That wasn’t a lightly taken decision, but it got us off on the right foot. Supporting Josh Warrington, who has a huge following from Leeds fans was also important. While it worked strategically for us, it also showed we were looking to develop a proper relationship with sports fans in Leeds and opened up a lot of content opportunities – particularly with the potential of a Word Title fight at Elland Road for Josh in 2018.”
As prime partner of Rangers, 32Red also takes great pride in sponsoring ‘The Big Sleep Out’ an initiative that Rangers Charity Foundation and the fans all show tremendous support for, Murray expressed that: “We receive a positive benefit on the business from an association with the club and therefore it’s only appropriate that when we’re asked to help support an initiative for a great cause, that we step up and do our bit where we can. I wouldn’t however see this as ‘part of our sponsorship’, this is just a natural consequence of having a positive relationship with Rangers and their fans.”