The Premier League and La Liga seasons both ended in spectacular fashion, effectively decided on the final day. Summer is etching ever closer and thoughts immediately turn to the Champions League Final, while the transfer mill goes into overdrive. Excitement for Brazil is in the air, time to beat the bookie.
Team SBC caught up with Ladbrokes’ Public Relations Officer Alex Donohue to discuss their preparation and get some pre-tournament tips.
SBC: Alex great to catch up, It’s now 23 days until the World Cup kicks off in Sao Paulo, how excited are Ladbrokes, and have you any special plans or markets to celebrate?
Alex: We’ve never known an event promise to excite our customers and staff as much as this and the sense that the biggest betting event of all time is around the corner is palpable. There’s a real buzz in the head office and shops as teams rally to finalise their plans and subsequently deliver them, with our special World Cup minisite being a great example of a response to customer demand. We started the countdown with daily specials and enhancements from 100 days to go and are continuing to add to the page daily with newsworthy and catchy markets. There will be more content, markets, derivatives and information offered than ever before. We are confident there will be something for everyone come kick off!
SBC: The hosts will be under massive pressure to reclaim the trophy, who do ladbrokes expect to be in the shake up, any outsiders worth a punt?
Alex: As expected all of the usual suspects (except England!) have been well supported at this stage and there is a good spread of business at the front end of the market. It may sound boring but our traders can’t see Brazil & Argentina out of the final 4 with Columbia one we are keen to keep on our side at bigger prices.
Lots of pundits tournament dark horses, Belgium have been backed in to 16/1 from 500/1 pre-tournament with Nigeria also a terrible result due to some decent each-way bets at fancy prices.
SBC: This seasons UEFA Golden Shoe was shared by Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo, who are the frontrunners for top scorer at Brazil 2014?
Alex: As we expected there has been a lot of action on Neymar, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo & Luis Suarez, they are the current front runners and if any of them end up as top scorer we will refund mobile and outright bets up to £25 as a free bet.
The ladbrokes trading team has seen some interesting each way money for Bosnia’s Edin Dzeko and as such he is now 80/1 from 100/1.
SBC: How important is the event to retail and online bookmakers, has there been much staked already?
Alex: As stated we are confident that this World Cup will represent the biggest betting event for the industry to date, with up to a billion pounds forecast to be staked across all channels for the industry. Not only does the tournament represent the chance to benefit from some serious levels of turnover, but due to the timings of the matches it is also set to be the event where mobile betting takes centre stage. There is a phenomenal opportunity to recruit existing shop and online customers to mobile with a view to retaining them for the longer term.
SBC; Have you any novelty bets for the tournament, what are you most looking forward to?
Alex: These are always fun, we are pricing up first WAG (footballers wife or girlfriend!) shown on TV is always fun! Seriously though, our traders will be pricing up as many specials as possible in real time before feeding them into our website in a rolling news style ticker. Rooney just hit the bar? A price for him to do so again in the match will pop up on screens of those who want to see these markets within minutes.
SBC: Finally, what is your tip of the day and what should punters look out for in Brazil 2014?
Alex: England seem to be benefiting from a quieter build up than usual so I’ll tip them to run a highly-respectable race and bow out at the quarter final stage. World Cup punters should keep an eye on Ladbrokes TV (in shops & on our news.ladbrokes site) and our social media channels for unique and exclusive video content and blogs celebrating the sights, sound and colour of Brazil.