Rick Wolf: free-to-play games – the key to converting your audience

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Rick Wolf, Spotlight Sports Group Senior VP B2B Partnerships, discusses how free-to-play games, expert tech and fantasy sports are key factors to consider when it comes to converting your audience. 

You recently launched a campaign for free-to-play games for NFL playoffs. Can you explain the benefits for B2B customers in using free-to-play games?

For businesses, it is critical to get marketing lists in states that are not yet legalized. Currently, 42.6% of the population can wager from their mobile device in the state in which they live. By Q2 of next year, that number could be over 70% if the ballot passes in California. 

So, it is vital to build your marketing database, create engagement and a place where people feel they belong to build brand loyalty. For legalized states, integrated offers within games is a critical way to inform and cross-sell players.

For the users, games provide a common ground and heightened engagement. Every person who goes to a website wants to feel like they “belong”. When you are playing in a contest that is built by us, you feel connected and that you belong.  

For big events such as the Super Bowl how does Spotlight Sports Group support its current and new customers?

When any sports company wants to solve a problem in their business, Spotlight Sports Group has the solution. We enable engagement, sponsorship opportunities and sports affiliation for our partners. 

Our targeted content, tools and games direct users to the best offers within a user’s state so they can wager on the biggest event of the year. Through Super Bowl props games, fans can play for free or choose to bet on things like the coin toss.  

Our turnkey platforms can be built for the event to enable media companies to have a seamless solution in their look and feel integrated with a complete Super Bowl experience.

With the NFL season drawing to a close, what are the key strategies for businesses to retain customers they have acquired through fantasy sports and free-to-play games?

RW: Season-long fantasy leagues, daily fantasy sports (DFS) and sports betting are different products, but those who play them share many similarities. Having a common player base taking part in both DFS and sports betting is one of the reasons why FanDuel and DraftKings have managed to become leaders in sports betting. 

Sportsbooks and media firms should be fully aware of the connections between the target audiences and understand that developing their fantasy sports audiences does not come at the detriment of sports betting, or, indeed, vice versa.   

In fact, the regulatory developments around sports betting have added even more value to fantasy sports and the wave of mergers and acquisitions of all sizes among DFS operators, affiliates or tips and subscription specialists proves the point. 

Looking closer at that affiliation solution. How important do you think affiliation will be to the sports betting industry in North America? 

Sportsbooks need to fight for customers. Advertising on TV, radio, podcasts, and billboards is expensive and they will fight for that landscape as well. I recently saw a sportsbook ad on a garbage can on an NYC street. They will do anything to get customers. One way to get customers is to get an endorsement or to have a community that you “belong to” recommend it to you. So for our partners, we create an atmosphere at their properties that makes people feel like they “belong” so that they will be more likely to make an offer to deposit.

You’ve recently done some major deals to provide full turnkey sports betting affiliates to media businesses. Is this something we’re more likely to see from SSG moving forward?

A problem that many sports businesses have is how not to miss out on the explosion in sports betting. Spotlight Sports Group is the solution. Being experts in sports betting and horse racing affiliation in Europe, we deliver expertise with partners to drive revenues.  

All media companies make money in three ways: subscriptions, advertising and affiliation.  

Spotlight Sports Group enables all these revenue streams by raising the value proposition with subscription-only games or customizable tools for sports fans, sponsorship opportunities and integrations plus our ability to use our affiliate system to manage and execute the best offers to their audience to maximize revenues for both parties.

Looking forward to the rest of 2022 – what can we expect from Spotlight Sports Group in North America? 

We have told you what we can do, but it is the method with which we will deliver the services that will disrupt the marketplace – self-service products and services for media partners. We have three self-service products now: games, tools and smart content modules. 

When we say self-service, media companies will pay for a license for a number of items and then be able to use a management system to be able to create these services in their vision for their audience.  

This removes development costs, timelines and bottlenecks. Partners have control. For media companies that want full service, we install the self-service platform and man the pump to make it great with sports-oriented employees and not developers. 

That makes us more nimble to be able to get media companies up and running within days and then all the work is not done by developers who are hard to hire and are the bottleneck at most media companies. 

Our smart content modules because they have real-time insights give confidence to users who are 39% more likely to place a bet when reading that content.

If you are a sports company, any sports company, you have pain points or trouble with getting to market fast enough. Spotlight Sports Group plans to be the solution.