Mike Rowland: Sporting Index to spread excitement at Russia 2018

Mike Rowland – Sporting Index

SBC speaks to Mike Rowland, Head of Marketing at Sporting Index, the market’s leading spread betting operator, on why World Cup Russia 2018 is the perfect vehicle for Sporting Index to display its market and product strengths. 

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SBC: Why does Russia 2018 represent a significant opportunity for a spread betting operator such as SportingIndex?

Mike Rowland: The World Cup is the highlight of the sporting calendar and nothing comes close to matching its popularity both in terms of number of bets made and money staked. Russia 2018 presents a great opportunity for Sporting Index to show how both current and prospective clients can revolutionise their betting with a sports spread bet.

With hundreds of unique and innovative markets available, this is a great time for us to demonstrate the excitement a sports spread bet generates from the first kick to the last, and every World Cup twist and turn along the way. While fixed odds betting can undoubtedly bring excitement to any given game, a spread bet on certain markets can ensure that every moment from kick-off to the final whistle counts.

Take the eight-goal 2014 semi-final thriller between Germany and Brazil for example. With Brazil 4-0 down after just 25 minutes, it would have been tricky to find a new betting angle in a match that was all but over.  Yet, Oscar’s 90th minute consolation added another goal to the scoresheet and that would have meant tens, hundreds or thousands of pounds to somebody who had taken a position on a market like total goal minutes.

SBC: How will you optimise Sporting Index’s partnership channels for World Cup trading?

MR: While the World Cup will always bring in a certain level of business for us, the betting industry is still a saturated one and it’s up to us to form partnerships that help us outshine our competitors. Not only will we be increasing our visible presence with current partners, but we’ll also be working heavily on brand awareness with a number of additional channels.

Our existing customers are extremely important to us, so we’ll be pushing to keep them excited and engaged throughout the tournament, particularly through the likes of CRM, social media and the return of our increasingly popular ‘World Cup Spread Better’ competition.

SBC: How can new audiences be developed for Spread Betting trading during this period?

MR: One of our main tasks to ensure we get the most from the World Cup is to educate could-be players on the world of sports spread betting as it can appear daunting to first-timers. While educating on the ‘how to’ side of things, we will also be placing a lot of importance on ensuring our heritage as the original sports spread betting company is acknowledged and known.

We will be upping our activity with current suppliers to help spread this message to new clients, but it’s important we also focus on re-engaging players that perhaps only bet on the big events. Meanwhile, social media engagements will help us to grow that brand awareness as well as develop target audiences.

SBC: What consumer/viewer trend do you expect to dominate World Cup 2018 trading and engagement?

MR: We introduced in-play betting more than 25 years ago and it has continued to grow and evolve year in year out. It’s now on a much larger scale and continues to dominate the thought process of players, so it’s important that we continue to revolutionise this area of the business to ensure every need is catered for. We’re always looking to be industry trendsetters rather than followers and, as the pioneers of the cash out feature, we will continue to offer our players this throughout the tournament, giving them the opportunity to trade in and out of markets and matches.

Elsewhere, having a bet that lasts from the first ball that’s kicked to when the trophy is held aloft, and affected by every single minute of every match, also makes our offering unique. Tournament totals such as bookings will have punters excited every time the referee reaches for his pocket while they’ll also have the opportunity to cash out throughout the tournament. If it’s noted that the referees seem to be clamping down on diving or time-wasting early on, then a longer-term market such as Bookings has been known to increase in popularity rapidly.

SBC: How should betting stakeholders seek to create long-term player value post World Cup 2018?

MR: The industry is more competitive than ever and it’s for that reason that a comprehensive CRM programme is absolutely vital. The World Cup is a standout acquisition driver and our aim is to convert all tournament players into loyal and regular players after the World Cup has finished and then throughout the football season. There will always be the opportunity to upsell our different product offerings, but our communications are also targeted to ensure we deliver our messages and offers in a much more relevant and timely manner to ensure a better conversion rate.

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Mike Rowland – Head of Marketing – Sporting Index