iSport Genius Co-Founder and Partner Nathan Rothschild is speaking at the inaugural Betting on Sports conference (September 15-16) in London on the topic of how to provide US sports to the European player.
The panel, which is being sponsored by Don Best Sports, will also feature Peter Bertilsson and Benjie Cherniak.
You can read more about the Betting on Sports Conference (#bettingonsports) by clicking here.
SBC: Which US sports resonate the most with European players, or do certain countries that prefer specific sports?
Nathan: Basketball certainly leads the pack of US sports in Europe both in terms of the calibre of athletes and bettor interest; I believe this correlation is no coincidence. It was also no surprise to see European countries in second and third position at the Olympics behind the dream team (despite a very favourable foul call for the Spanish on Patty Mills in the dying seconds!).
Looking at my home market of Australia, the presence of a number of Australian athletes in the NBA as well as Jarryd Hayne’s NFL stint are both things the bookies used in promotions. The superbowl itself is a huge betting event.
On the European front, it is important to note the strength of, and the interest in, some of the domestic basketball leagues as well, with some players preferring to stay in Europe than move to play in the NBA. For example, the Spanish basketball league is a relatively strong one, probably the strongest in Europe, and basketball has a higher betting market share in Spain than most other European countries. It is certainly much higher than the UK.
SBC: Would you say that US sports are an under estimated market by most European bookies?
Nathan: I’m not sure whether US sports are underestimated or just forced lower on the priority schedule due to the overwhelming dominance of football in European sports betting.
Certainly in many of the conversations we have had with sportsbooks, the questions often revolve around depth and width of coverage of European football, rather than US sports. Essentially as long as we cover the major pro US sports that suffices, but the real interest in terms of coverage and detail regards the European football leagues. There is an opportunity here; certainly some European sportsbooks have ‘tried’ with US sports, but I still think there is some untapped potential yet to be realised.
It is also important for European operators to realise that NBA has the largest social following of any pro-league in the world, with it being the first to reach 1 billion social media followers. As social plays an increasingly important role in engagement and awareness, expect the influence of not just the NBA but the other US pro-leagues to increase in Europe.
SBC: Is basic education the key to introducing and promoting US sports to players over here? How much of an impact do you anticipate Spurs’ hosting American Football to have?
Nathan: There is education of the sports themselves although I think most Europeans understand the rules of basketball, and then further education around the betting markets.
Some of the biggest betting markets in the world are NFL and NBA against the spread (‘ATS’), and line betting is yet to really take off in Europe. The closest equivalent in Football is the Asian Handicap, and there is no doubt that the 1×2 absolutely trounces the AH in terms of betting volume. In US sports, there is a relatively monumental shift away from H2H betting to ATS betting.
ATS betting is incredibly exciting – many results go down to the wire and has the bettor completely engaged throughout the match, which can create many opportunities for additional in-play bets.
Regarding Spurs hosting American Football, it certainly helps, although is somewhat limited by the infrequency and sporadic nature of these events – not just with the NFL, but the NBA as well.
SBC: How much work have you done with US sports at iSport Genius?
Nathan: US sports have been a significant focus.
Analysis of spreads in highly efficient markets allow for some excellent insights that are really easy for consumers to understand.
With iSG, a user will virtually immediately be able to find the Chicago Bulls’ ATS record for the past 6 seasons as an away underdog, playing at altitude above 500 feet after having a 3 day break. There are some really interesting trends to see under what conditions a team has outperformed market expectation.
Some teams don’t bounce back from a loss as well as expected, yet some teams handle travel better than you think – these patterns aren’t just of interest to a bettor, but also to anyone who is a follower of these leagues.
SBC: What can attendees expect from your panel with Peter and Benjie?
Nathan: Other than a nice mix of accents, I’m expecting some really innovative thoughts to be shared on US sports in the European marketplace and ways to leverage these sports to grow a sportsbook.
I think big data will feature given some of our backgrounds, but there is generally a lot of knowledge to be shared. It should be a really good panel session, it’s definitely one I am looking forward to!
Want to come and hear Nathan speak? With over 55 speakers in total over the two days, a ticket for #bettingonsports is a worthy investment. Find out more here.