Mike Grenham: Planet Sport - Live Betting is no place for static content
Seeking a further edge on competitors, sportsbooks have fine-tuned all components of their betting product, yet their day-to-day content remains somewhat static. Mike Grenham, Managing Director of Planet Sport Group’s B2B betting arm, tells SBC why bookmakers need to build their live content competencies to service the needs of modern sports audiences…
SBC: Hi Mike, can you explain the development of Planet Sport’s B2B arm from its initial proposal to its development/concept phase through to its current product?
Mike Grenham: When I joined Planet Sport at the start of 2021, I could see there was a huge amount of top-quality sports content produced in the business and, also, products that were great for the betting industry.
The development of our B2B Betting division is simply a logical extension of supplying several tier-one operators, with whom we had long-term relationships and reaching out to the wider market.
We’re excited by what can be achieved with our Planet Vision platform and our sports betting content and data proposition.
SBC: How does Planet Sport define a clear “cross-sell” opportunity for operators – what are they missing out on?
MG: Rather than filling in areas where operators are missing out, I believe we’re looking to add value by augmenting their approach to content, entertainment, and engagement. Nearly every firm offers these elements to customers, but we work with partners to take that to the highest possible level, at the right cost.
Take our recently launched Planet Vision product – this allows operators to integrate live odds streams into the live casino environment to deliver continued engagement between each bet. This means that players can enjoy watching match highlights and sports content or keep an eye on the operator’s latest odds and markets in-between game rounds. This in turn keeps them engaged with the operator’s brand and helps drive cross-sell from live casino to the sportsbook.
SBC: Should operators be concerned about sports media and streaming companies such as DAZN entering the betting space?
MG: Concern is probably not the right word, depending on your view of competition. My personal view is that sports media companies are probably more likely to succeed in betting if they partner with operators, rather than taking them on at their game as they can’t be good at it all.
Playing to your strengths is the expression that springs to mind. But obviously, players like DAZN have the deep pockets to invest in the right people and technologies. Execution of the plan then becomes the key challenge.
SBC: We’ve seen sports media groups in the US become increasingly involved in betting, is this phenomenon being mirrored in other regions?
MG: This is the model that Planet Sport is taking as we approach global markets, and there is undoubtedly a desire to mirror the ‘US approach’ in other parts of the world. It’s a very logical strategy.
Sports media groups already possess large and loyal audiences that are primed and ready to convert to real-money sports bettors. If they can do this with a brand they know and trust then why would they go anywhere else? The answer is, that they most likely wouldn’t.
SBC: How has Planet Sport settled the complex issue of media rights to promote its opportunities?
MG: Media rights are indeed complex – and I suspect will always remain so. We take a pragmatic approach to media rights – we always play by the rules and only look to acquire rights when it makes logical commercial or brand sense to do so.
Can integrating sports streaming into an operator’s wider offering provides an advantage when targeting new markets?
MG: Absolutely. There is no doubt that live streaming is a major part of the armoury of most of the successful players in the market and their success has dovetailed with increased coverage. It’s a fundamental part of the customer offering, especially for the major operators.
SBC: Do casino operators really want to disrupt playing customers with sports highlights?
MG: No, I don’t believe disruption makes any great level of sense. Our Planet Vision product, as evidenced on William Hill’s Sports Lounge Roulette, instead aims to support and supplement the gaming product with great sports coverage.
It is far more effective when the sports content does this and increases dwell time on casinos, rather than driving customers elsewhere.
SBC: Are there any casino games in particular that you believe are well-suited to integrating sports content?
MG: You probably would expect me to say this, but I‘m adamant that Planet Vision can work across a whole range of games, not just the obvious ones like Roulette and Blackjack. If the content supports and doesn’t distract/disrupt, then value is clearly being added. That is why we concentrate on enhancing not replacing the customer’s casino experience.
SBC: Likewise, are there any sports that caught the attention of casino players? Are sports traditionally associated with betting such as horse racing, football and boxing well received?
MG: There is a significant crossover between casino players and sports betting propensity, not everyone, obviously, but the potential volume is still significant. I’d say the major betting sports like racing, football and boxing are indeed particularly popular in that crossover, with tennis and US sports also proving to be key elements in the mix.