Aligning your brand with a particular sport or team is widely recognised as a hugely effective way to drive fresh interest amongst a potentially huge audience, bringing with it a plethora of benefits along the way.
As part of a concerted effort within the recently entered German market, sports betting provider Betano.com, launched a little over two years ago by online betting operator Stoiximan, recently inked a deal to become a premier partner of Bundesliga outfit VfB Stuttgart.
Forming one part of its wider marketing strategy, SBC News caught up with Panos Konstantopoulos, chief marketing officer of Stoiximan and Betano.com, to discuss the significance of the deal, opportunities brought by the “king of sports” as opposed to others and the importance of staying ahead of the game.
SBC News: Why did Betano chose to enter this partnership with VfB Stuttgart? What opportunities does/will this bring?
Panos Konstantopoulos: We have signed a three-year sponsorship agreement with VfB Stuttgart, this indicates our commitment to VFB Stuttgart and to German football in general. It is a very important step for Betano.com, as it establishes a solid link with the fans of one of the Bundesliga’s most prominent clubs.
VfB Stuttgart is listed among the top 30 teams in Europe and is one of the 10 largest sports clubs in Germany. The significance of this partnership is not only linked with our presence in one of the world’s most popular leagues, but it is also linked to Betano’s presence and support to the local community through the implementation of several actions that are planned.
“Football is the ‘king of sports’ in Europe and it represents a significant share of our betting service”
SBC: What opportunities does football provide for Betano as opposed to other sports? And why was the Bundesliga deemed to be the perfect fit and not one of the other European leagues?
PK: Our actions are not limited only to football. Betano and its sister brand Stoiximan, have a strong presence in other sport groups as well, in all of the countries we operate; such as basketball, water polo, handball in team sports as well as track and field, cycling, gymnastics and even windsurfing on an athlete level.
However, football is the ‘king of sports’ in Europe and it represents a significant share of our betting services. The Bundesliga is one of the top championships in Europe with a huge attendance both in the stadiums as well as on TV, and we are excited to be able to be associated with it. It is a great opportunity and a great challenge at the same time.
SBC: How do you leverage your brand presence at sporting events, on shirts etc… into engaging and retaining customers?
PK: It’s not the same for every market. In new markets these kinds of sponsorships are useful for the introduction of the brand and are mainly brand awareness tools and are drivers to a faster top of mind awareness.
In other markets that we already have strong presence, sponsorships work as a proof of the brand’s status. In markets that we are market leaders, such as Greece, sponsorships work as a tool demonstrating the company’s support to local sports and communities.
Customers are always happy to see a company supporting their team of preference but let’s be clear; it’s the level of professionalism, the quality of our product and of our customer service throughout the players’ game journey that maintains existing customers loyal to our brand, and which attracts new customers too.
“We are not afraid of competition, on the contrary we are confident of our product offering”
SBC: Why is entering relationships such as this with VfB Stuttgart so crucial? Is it necessary to try to stay ahead/gain a competitive advantage?
PK: It is an important step following our recent entry in the German market. It’s also a testament that we are here to stay, a testament of our commitment to German football and to German sports. We are not afraid of competition, on the contrary we are confident of our product offering. The agreement with VfB underlines our strong commitment to a long-term action plan, and our commitment to being an integral and dynamic part of our new ‘home’.
SBC: Are further deals such as this, an option for Betano in the future? Are they a useful tool to support expansion?
PK: Following our sponsorship agreement with VfB we are happy to announce our sponsorship agreement regarding a very popular sport in Germany, Handball. Following an agreement with the European Handball Federation, Betano will be the official betting sponsor in the German territory, for the EHF Champions League and the EHF Final 4 that will be held in Cologne in the coming season (2018-2019).
We are also in negotiations regarding a potential sponsorship agreement with another historic football club, but you will allow me not to disclose more info at the moment. We have a solid marketing plan and sponsorships are only one part of this plan.