All of the panelists on the rugby focused session at Betting on Sports agreed that there is an ‘education process’ needed to drive more betting activity for the sport.
Nick Bentley, Senior Editor for Opta, said that there is a “lack of insight into what’s available in rugby and what data is out there to power the different channels for betting”.
Unsurprisingly, he said that New Zealand was the biggest rugby market for Opta, a key provider of player data in the sport for over 20 years, with a data product seen as something of a ‘precursor’ to what is now available in football.
Clive Russell, Managing Director for BD Sports, added that “there needs to be an understanding that a fan can come to the stadium and bet, which is not something they’ve traditionally been doing”.
Russell, whose company provides an in-stadia betting experience for operators at sporting venues, also explained that the “typical rugby league bettor is very similar to a football client”, emphasised by the fact that in terms of volume, the Grand Final will see a similar take to a Premier League match involving Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Leicester Tigers Head of Brand Chris Rose, is driving digital fan engagement and a new wave of rugby union punters via a three-year sponsorship deal with LeoVegas.
He promoted the “value that rugby can offer for the price”, especially at “the most televised sports club percentage wise”. The Tigers were screened live in 28 of 35 home and away matches last season.
The final member of the ‘Sport in Focus’ session, moderated by former 188BET CEO Andy Scott, was former Scotland international Kenny Logan. The 70-times capped winger agreed that there is a need to engage with the fans rather than just “sticking the brand on and seeing what happens”.
He also suggested that the RFU may have a role to play in the education process, because the international following is proportionately bigger in the sport, compared with sports such as football.