Brandon Asgeirsson, US Business Development Manager at Xtremepush, discusses the real-time reality of engaging fantasy sports bettors before touching upon Xtremepush’s expansion across the US market.
SBC Americas: Brandon, Xtremepush works with a number of fantasy sports betting operators. What can you tell us about the challenges of engaging this customer base versus a casino or sportsbook audience?
BA: That’s right. In addition to the couple hundred sportsbooks and online casino brands we work with globally, we’ve also been partnering closely with fantasy sports operators. We’re uniquely positioned in that sense.
It’s interesting because on the surface, the objectives of all brands in this sector are the same; engage the customer, provide a great service and make sure they have fun playing on your site and not on a competitor’s. But the differences in how they go about this, on a granular level, can be night and day.
The profile of a traditional sports bettor isn’t necessarily different from that of a fantasy sports fan. In fact, there’s huge overlap and many players engage in both. But the same bettor wants something very different from each of them.
In fantasy sports betting, there’s more a sense of a bettor testing their knowledge, their “hunches”. Will a particular player have a big game, will this team be held to a low score and so on? And there’s more of a competitive edge, of course, too. So they want regular updates on how well they are doing and, if they are in a league, how they stack up against the other players.
SBC Americas: What are some of the engagement strategies that you’re seeing working for fantasy sports operators?
BA: The duration of each contest, from the bettor’s perspective, really dictates what constitutes a good experience. So for example, if it’s a one-game event, let’s say the Super Bowl, then that player wants regular updates as the game progresses.
Every time they have a player who scores points for them, there should be a push notification letting them know. And then at halftime, the player expects another push with their current total and maybe even where they are on the leaderboard. And of course, a final push at the end to let them know how they ended up.
But for events that run over the course of a few days, or even weeks, the engagement strategy and the drip-feeding of information, if you like, should have a very different pacing.
So let’s take the NBA playoffs as our example. Maybe the player just gets one update at the end of each day or round to begin with. And then, over the course of the final games, when it’s getting closer to the crunch, the updates start coming thick and fast.
This is where we’re seeing the importance of automation combined with real-time data handling come to the fore.
SBC Americas: How do you see the fantasy sports betting industry evolve in the near future?
BA: I think what we’re seeing now is that fantasy sports betting operators must offer a wide range of ways to play. So you need to have those single-game, multi-entry offerings for marquee sporting events as well as the medium and even long-term contests that run regularly throughout the season.
The US fantasy sports industry is already quite a competitive landscape, and more brands will enter the fray. Being able to implement the kinds of journeys I’ve mentioned and keep players entertained and informed, is what will set you apart.
What we’ve seen recently in Connecticut, where fantasy operators are now required to have a partnership in place might complicate the landscape and restrict the number of operators.. There’s no guarantee that other states will do something similar, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they did.
SBC Americas: Xtremepush recently announced details of a $33 million funding round. Can you tell us any more about that in relation to your North American operations?
BA: Firstly, this is a huge deal for us. It’s recognition of our people and our technology, and sets us up incredibly well for the next stage of our growth. And particularly, here in North America, there are some really exciting plans in motion. Paul Severini came onboard as VP of Sales for the region earlier this year and we’ve just had an incredible run of new business wins since.
We’re going to build on that momentum and continue expanding the team here in New York and across the country. Our North American clients are going to be very well looked after, I can promise you that.
And then, in terms of our product, the roadmap is very dynamic, very much focused on offering more features and functionality to platform users. Already, our technology is widely seen as the go-to offering in the sports betting and casino industry. I think that the enhancements coming down the line will really put us out of sight.
Xtremepush recently released a multichannel player engagement playbook for the fantasy sports industry. You can download that here.