The most important football league in Peru will begin the new season on March 12 under a new name, Liga 1 Betsson 2021, after signing a sponsorship deal with the Swedish company, in alliance with the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF).
After an initial partnership between Liga 1 and Betsson Group in September 2020, the operator, which has a large presence in the region, has become the main sponsor and has acquired the naming rights of the first division tournament for the next two years.
SBC Noticias spoke with Jesper Svensson, CEO of Betsson Operations, and with Rodrigo Fort, Marketing consultant of Betsson Perú, about the step that the company has taken to expand its reach in Latin America and gain the biggest share of the market.
“The reach and visibility that we expect with this deal are really huge,” stressed Svensson, and have also ensured that “this sponsorship can open doors in other big markets in the region”.
Betsson Group has more than 50 years of experience in the gambling industry and, by leading trends as one of the biggest companies in the sector, focused on Latin America due to the enormous emerging opportunities that come from having new regulations in the region.
Recently, the company obtained a license to operate an online gambling and betting platform in the Province of Buenos Aires, along with Casino de Victoria, once the market finally opens. Additionally, it has also established its presence in Brazil through Betsson Brasil (formerly called Suaposta) and in Colombia with the acquisition of a 70% share of Colbet’s operations.
With this latest move in Peru, the company has proven to be a giant ready to conquer the entire gambling market in Latin America, even before some regulations are in place.
“We are looking at the whole region, it’s a very exciting one,” Svensson highlighted. As the CEO explained, “Betsson as a company is highly regulated and we meet the highest quality standards.” While there are no official regulations in Latin American markets, the company operates through its international license from Malta, which is part of the European Union.
Adding to Svensson’s idea, Fort also detailed the sports integrity and responsible gaming plans included in the sponsorship agreement with Liga 1. “We offer our players a safe and controlled environment,” he said, and listed the tools integrated in the platform, such as the possibility for players to set a number of limits to their accounts in order to control their gambling activity and their spending.
Both Betsson representatives underlined that the firm uses “alert” methods for suspicious betting that raise flags, automatically stop transactions on a specific game and then send the information to international organizations and gaming authorities of each country.
“On a global level, I can say that we do a great job to ensure that football matches are not compromised and that everything is fair,” Svensson said.
Sports betting can help reactivate the football industry
While the Peruvian market is mainly interested in La Liga in Spain and the Premier League in England, Betsson believes that once football starts in Peru again, they will see a good uplifting activity in the local league.
However, Fort talked about the fact that the sports industry has lost a lot of money last year due to the restrictions and cancellations, saying: “We’ve seen a demand for digital entertainment. As a digital company that offers such a wide range of entertainment, Betsson is in a position to continue attracting the Latin American public.
“With football being such an important part of the culture, people seek to get connected to Liga 1 and their teams.”
Furthermore, the CEO said the firm has “high ambitions for the Peruvian market, we want to be a top player there”. Once it gains momentum, this sponsorship “will allow Betsson to be part of Peruvian football – not with just one club, but with the whole league”.
As a well-positioned and forward-thinking company, Betsson said it aims to contribute to the development of sports in the region, and its representatives confirmed that sponsorship agreements are the foundation to exponentially grow the interest in sports across the region, due to the connection that is generated between the public and the teams.
“In Peru, like in many countries in Latin America, football is a religion, it’s so popular that for us this partnership is a natural step to take in order to strengthen both industries by offering entertainment for an audience looking for an experience that brings their passion for football and betting together,” Svensson said.
Fort added: “Yes, sport betting companies are entering the market and getting really close to sports clubs, but our previous experience sponsoring Premier League teams, European athletes and currently three Italian teams (AC Milan, Inter Milan and Napoli) generate confidence in emerging markets.”
Both Svensson and Fort celebrated the fact that they haven’t lost contact with their football audience or their players in 2020. “The sports industry has lost a lot of money in 2020, so digital companies like Betsson will be increasingly important for new sources of revenue, fan engagement and for any business that turns to the online world for marketing and engagement strategies,” they concluded.