SBC News Giannis Paraschos, Novibet: No Niche… All sports can be priced & nurtured

Giannis Paraschos, Novibet: No Niche… All sports can be priced & nurtured

Bookmakers seek all competitive advantages when competing in ever-saturated markets. However, too many sportsbooks remain conservative in their sports offerings, unwilling to price or cater to new sports for their customers.

Giannis Paraschos, Head of Sportsbook Product at Novibet, tells SBC that no sports can be neglected and branded either as ‘niche-or-novelty’,  as all markets can be nurtured to develop a localized and diversified offering… Detailed as a challenge all bookmakers should accept.


SBC News Giannis Paraschos, Novibet: No Niche… All sports can be priced & nurtured
Giannis Paraschos: Novibet

SBC News: Hi Giannis, as a pan-international bookmaker, how does Novibet value and distinguish its current sports offering to service an international customer base?

Giannis Paraschos: At Novibet, we pride ourselves on having a diverse portfolio with over 40 sports available, catering to an international audience. Even though we have established our brand and particularly our Sportsbook as one of the most competitive out there, we love pushing the boundaries of our best selling features and keep making them better. Neglecting the rest is a big mistake though. You have to focus on the little details that will make you stand out of the crowd.

During our expansion across Europe, the Americas and RoW countries, we adopted a strategy we called “Glocalisation”—becoming global while presenting a localised product.

This meant we focused on understanding regional preferences and trends, ensuring popular sports and emerging interests were well-represented in our offerings. For instance, one of the first steps of our strategy was to expand our ELeagues and ESports offering, since we already knew they are one of the most emerging sports in our territories of focus. We also leveraged advanced stats and created the relevant pricing models to provide a top tier local product in each domain.

SBC: The term ‘niche sport’ can take on a broad meaning. As  Head of Sportsbook Product, how do you define the exact remit and distinction of a niche sports, compared to dominant markets? 

GP: Personally I approach the concept of “niche sports” with a balanced perspective. On one hand, I believe that no sport should be labeled as niche in a way that undermines its value. Every sport plays a part in creating a comprehensive and engaging betting experience. Having a wide range of sports available for betting at any time is crucial. It allows us to introduce our users to new and creative sports. For example, someone might have only had the chance to watch a badminton match because it was available on our platform. This kind of content is often hard to find on traditional TV channels, and we take pride in offering it.

On the other hand, it’s important to acknowledge the market realities, as well. Some sports will never generate significant revenues. It’s a fact that a low-level football event can sometimes perform better in terms of engagement and revenue than an entire niche sport over a month.

Therefore, while we strive to provide a diverse sports offering to cater to all interests, we also focus on optimising our resources towards sports that show strong performance and potential. This dual approach ensures that we maintain a rich and varied sportsbook while driving sustainable business growth.

SBC: From your experience, what are the unique challenges and factors of bringing ‘niche’ sports to market? 

GP: Bringing niche sports to market involves unique challenges. Interestingly, costs are not as significant since these sports usually operate on a revenue share partnership, which minimises the financial burdens, while it aligns interests towards mutual growth.

Popularity is a key factor; niche sports typically have smaller fan bases, limiting initial engagement. However, they can perform well under specific circumstances. In the digital age, virality can play a crucial role. Sports that create engaging content can quickly gain popularity through social media. Riding the wave of an emerging sport can get you a long way.

In this context, Live streaming is crucial for enhancing engagement, providing richer experiences and entertainment.

In summary, while challenges exist in popularity and coverage, the low costs and potential to engage younger audiences make bringing niche sports to market a worthwhile effort.

SBC: Of strategic importance, how do you gauge the success of launching a niche sport to market?

GP: For niche sports, engagement is often more critical than immediate revenue. We focus on how well our customer base is introduced to and interacts with the new sport. Key engagement metrics will show how many new users are attracted, how many of them are becoming returning users and time spent on related content.

When launching a new sport, especially as an “experiment,” it’s essential to give it a proper chance to succeed. This means robust promotion and live streaming options to draw interest and educate users. On top, monitoring conversion rates and how well the sport is resonating with our audience provides further insights into success.

Giving niche sports a fair opportunity to establish themselves in the market is crucial to truly gauge their potential and impact.

SBC: 2024 is an Olympic year, how is Novibet pricing the magnitude of events that will be showcased at Paris 2024 this summer?

GP: Thankfully, we rely on our providers and integrations to assist with this truly Olympian task. Having the global market pricing in your system makes it a lot easier to focus on specific sports or athletes and fine tune your pricing. 

Pricing for Olympic sports requires careful focus, as even seasoned traders may not have a firm grasp on all sports and the packed schedule over a few weeks simply doesn’t let you rest. While the Olympics are the most important sporting event during the time they are held, traditional summer trading operations continue without interruption, since the major sports and leagues are on the verge of kicking off.

Having spent over 10 years in trading rooms before migrating to Product, I’ve seen firsthand how teams must adapt to such circumstances. Your team must display agility, balancing the high demands of Olympic events with the ongoing needs of other major sports.

SBC: What new or emerging sports do you think have a bright future as betting markets? (Padel, pickle-ball, x games, hammer throwing!).

GP:  I’ll provide an enigmatic answer on this one since we have a few great plans in front of us and I wouldn’t want to lay them on the table just yet. I’m excited to tease that Novibet will soon introduce many more niche sports to our users. While I can’t reveal all the details, we will offer a series of extraordinary content which highlights our approach on not only generating revenue but also on bringing fresh and exciting concepts to the industry.

Expect many “cool” things to be featured soon, including exclusive partnerships with viral sports. By the time we all come together in the upcoming SBC Summit, we will probably be ready for announcements.

SBC: What value do events like SBC Summit bring to sportsbook operators in terms of equipping them for success?

GP: Last year in Barcelona was my first time at the SBC Summit & Awards and I was truly humbled to see our industry in full action. Participating in such events introduces you to new concepts and ideas, and the inspiration you can draw from your peers is incredible. Reflecting on last year’s Summit, it’s exciting to see how it goes beyond fun and games. We left with actionable insights that have since been implemented or are on the verge of release.

Summits like SBC are crucial for forging and solidifying relationships, or creating new acquaintances from around the globe. Honestly, I’ve met some of my favourite people there, and the networking opportunities are invaluable. I’m looking forward to Lisbon next September and since Novibet will have its own stand I’m inviting new and old partners from around the world to meet the whole team there.


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