SBC Summit CIS: Sports sponsorship shows consumers operators ‘are not the bad guys’

A key objective for any betting operator when entering a new regional market is to raise brand awareness and promote its business, which can see sports sponsorship deals play a key role – and the CIS region is no exception to this.

Discussing the topic at the SBC Summit CIS event, a group of industry experts engaged each other on a panel entitled ‘Sportsbetting and Sports sponsorships – a partnership made in heaven?’, sponsored by Ajarabet.com.

For Setantasports Eurasia’s Chief Strategy Officer, Tamar Badashvili, effective promotion of brand awarness in the CIS region via sports sponsorship requires a strong understanding on the effective leveraging of the correct media channels.

Although television is still widely popular and one of the main methods for disseminating brand messages and campaigns, she argued that operators should make extensive use of digital channels as a way to communicate with younger demographics.

Commenting on engagement with younger consumers, she said: “They know how to use their smartphones, they know how to use digital services including the auditory services not only the sports or the services but also for movies and for streaming.

“To look from the company’s perspective, I would say that for brand communication, it’s one of the most important channels which is developing at the moment.”

Meanwhile, Ivan Liashenko, Chief Marketing Officer at Parimatch Tech, and Aleksey Tserkovnyi, Marketing Director at Favbet, shared their view that operators should tailor their strategies based on regional sporting preferences and their own corporate structure.

When deciding which sports and teams to forge links with, Liashenko detailed, operators must consider whether or not the sport in question will serve as an efficient and marketable betting product. 

“When we talk about, for example, the UK market, winter sports in the UK are dead,” he explained. “Nonetheless the sponsorship market in the UK has lots of money, not much of that money comes through winter sports, because winter sports do not have reach and it has not been done for betting – that’s it. 

“Betting is good for those kinds of sports that you can bet on. When we talk about this help for the local stars and help them make their career, it is only in the sports that can be bet on.”

Tserkovnyi shared his own views, pointing out that operators should adjust their strategy when engaging with sports teams and leagues depending on their ambitions, whether these be local or international.

He detailed: “If you are already big and have an ambition to go worldwide, it will be easier and better for you to take well known team or even sport leagues, but if you are looking on specific markets, you are going local, for you it will be easier and cheaper to build relationships with small local teams or local heroes in sport and bring them to become a worldwide star.”

Lastly, Tomorrow Advertising’s COO Sam Behar and Adjarabet’s CMO Irakli Davarashvili outlined their opinions on the benefits of forming strong brand ambassador partnerships. 

Whilst Davarashvili focused on athlete oriented marketing, Behar added that this tactic can be bolstered through engagement with sports bloggers, YouTube personalities and sports content providers. 

“I think that is a very important tactic, you’ve got people on the panel who have acquired content businesses if you like, and have moved into becoming broadcasters as much as operators,” the COO said.

“I think that it will be in five years time we’ll be sat here talking about that a lot more than we are now, but that support that you can give I think is a is a very important brand ambassadorial alignment, particularly in the CIS market.”

Davarashvili, meanwhile, stated that operators can connect with fans by forming alliances with prominent local athletes. By providing support for sports this showcases that operators are ‘not the bad guys’ by providing support for sports, he argued, pointing to his own firm’s relationship with local UFC fighters.

“From our perspective it was some kind of support on the local level for the sportsmen and at the same time it was a big opportunity for sportsmen to achieve much more because we gave them the platform,” Davarashvili explained.

He added: “This sport is becoming very popular in Georgia right now, because we have the exclusive content streaming for that and also at the same time because of our help funds and motivation of the sportsmen is given success in either direction, so it’s very important.”

Agreeing with this assessment, Badashvili observed that fans are “watching their favourite team, and also they are emotional at that moment,” noting that “these are positive emotions which can be linked to the brand.”

To view the SBC Summit CIS visit the event’s official website.

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