March Madness and the Super Bowl have exceeded all expectations when it comes to betting handles – despite an unprecedented year. We sat down with Alex Kornilov, CEO of engagement specialists Betegy, to talk data-driven content and visualization, as well as the approaches that are proving key to driving fan interest at home.
For our readers who may not be familiar with Betegy, can you tell us a bit about who you are and what you bring to the table for US operators and sports media?
Betegy enables our partners to create personalized content for every single marketing channel that utilizes visual presentation. The aim being to engage both punters and sports fans alike. To that end, our primary focus is sports media and sports betting, and we allow our clients to create content for every media channel they possess, and most importantly, in only a few clicks, rather than the usual days required by a design team.
Since 2018, we’ve been working very closely with US gambling operators to aid them in the streamlining and production of content at scale. We’ve got plenty of experience stateside when it comes to engaging audiences, having been live with various US media companies since we entered the territory in 2012, including ESPN, Yahoo Sports and Winners.net, among others.
Is Betegy’s strategy in the US focused around major events, such as the Super Bowl and March Madness, or more spread across the entire years sporting competitions?
It depends on the priority of our clients – we fit our projects to focus on their chosen sports and events. It’s a collaborative process. In general, we are sport agnostic – we cover all the top sports in the US, including other generation of visuals.
How we work, from taking client data and turn it into visuals, doesn’t change from sport to sport, as that’s not important to us – it’s about the quality of data supplied – which can be then turned into true platforms for engagement, for whatever sporting event that’s happening.
March Madness is one of the sporting highlights of the year in the US. This year’s empty stadiums has of course been unprecedented, how were fans engaging in collegiate sports during the tournament?
Unprecedented is definitely the word – as stadiums have had extremely limited capacity, even when open – meaning the main channel for interaction has been online and you need a certain style of content, to not only be spread on TV, but also via engagement through event-related articles that drive pre-match interest.
For the US, this means statistical data – and we’ve seen real success over the last month in creating visual representations of analytics via TV and streaming broadcasts to get fans involved, which has really driven interaction. How do we do this? It is all about giving something extra to fulfil the emptiness.
Effectively we’re giving a more complex layer of graphics and visuals that allows fans to interact. The events are there – and we seen no sign of that abating – so now the key is for specialists like us to provide the ability to connect with audiences across the entire media channel to drive interest via the use of the in-game stats that are available.
The Super Bowl broke numerous betting records – have we seen similar for March Madness?
It’s almost impossible to compare the two – one is a single-game event, the other features 68 teams over an almost month-long period of constant competition. While I’m not an operator, I can promise that the numbers I have seen shows that there has been a serious surge this year.
Betting in the US continues to grow at a staggering rate, and the extent to which player interest is being generated is really impressive. Each month we see states breaking records for sports handles – and its events such as these that really create an incentive to get involved in the action. Looking ahead to the summer, there’s no doubt that will continue.
What is the key for engaging US players when it comes to data and content, with statistics consistently dominating conversations in US sports?
As a European company that set up shop in the US back in 2012, it felt like we were coming home in terms of talking stats, numbers and just sheer data. We all know soccer is king over in Europe, but there’s less to bet on historically.
This means there was not much data to track – compare that to the US, and you can see the jump from data-driven analytics was years ahead of Europe. US sports commentary is dominated by statistics. Everyone discusses shooting percentages, RBIs, Passing Yards etc. It’s a data-driven landscape.
As a result, US audiences expect this with everything – this is surprising for many operators arriving in the US, but for us, it’s a dream come true. Looking to the future it’s all about personalization. Whether this is through media, fantasy sports or operators, this is what’s going to be expected. Such bespoke content needs to tap into the US’s passion for stats and prop-bets – and done in the right way – you’re effectively laying out a ‘Bloomberg’ style experience to show players the raw numbers behind their betting strategies.
What challenges are involved in rolling out Betegy’s operation across multiple states, with different regulatory frameworks in every state?
We don’t deal with customer data, so for us this won’t be a problem – it’s something that sits firmly with the operator. The challenge for us, wherever we’re active in the world, is to ensure we incorporate all legal requirements, which can be different from state to state. This is in regard to the content shown for sports – and it can be different, the aim is to make that work, and as hassle-free as possible for our partners.
AI is the real gamechanger here, and we’re able to instantly configure our systems to deliver the exact regulatory requirements for advertising and promotion – wherever we are in the world, or indeed the US.