Off the back of the record-breaking collision between Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields, women’s boxing is showing no signs of slowing down, as Natasha Jonas prepares to headline at the AO Arena against Marie-Eve Dicaire.
With promotional outfit BOXXER at the heart of the sport’s recent ascension, SBC News and Insider Sport were joined by bet365 and Rafael Bertoli-Mitchell, Partnerships Manager at BOXXER, for a deep-dive into the duo’s ongoing collaboration and commitment to promoting women’s boxing.
Bringing the fights to the fans
Reflecting on the build up to last month’s decade-defining showdown in London between the British and American pugilists, bet365 introduced a number of measures across both marketing and trading.
“Ahead of fight night, bet365 created the most in-depth betting destination for boxing fans, with the most amount of markets ever released for a women’s boxing event,” bet365’s spokesperson explained.
“Outright markets were supported with round betting, KO betting, group betting and an unrivalled In-Play product that went live once the bell rang for each bout.”
With regards to marketing, Bertoli-Mitchell broke down how bet365 was incorporated into BOXXER’s pre-promotional events at both fight weekends in a ‘360 degree fashion’.
This encompassed open workouts, grand arrivals, press conferences and weigh ins, with the sportsbook granted exclusive access to fight week events for content creation and conducting one-to-one interviews with Marshall and Shields, as well as Mikaela Mayer and Alycia Baumgardner.
“bet365 featured extensively across the campaign for Shields v Marshall, from the initial announcement date in early July, right through to fight night, and beyond,” Bertoli-Mitchell remarked.
Finally, during the event itself, the global company’s branding was featured prominently across the ring and arena in its capacity as official betting partner of ‘these iconic events’, a presence the firm’s spokesperson praised.
“bet365 are extremely proud of our role as Official Betting Partner for these iconic events,” the bookmaker’s spokesperson added,” they added. “Claressa Shields versus Savannah Marshall, was not just an epic fight, it was a defining moment in women’s sport.
“Seeing our brand displayed within the ring for the world’s first televised all-female card, in front of a sold-out O2 Arena, was a special moment for everyone at bet365.”
Creating a knockout narrative
In the build up to the bout, bet365’s aforementioned exclusive access to BOXXER’s preparations enable viewers to see ‘the genuine animosity between the boxers, the tension between the teams, and the hard work that went into producing the most iconic event in women’s sporting history’.
“Ahead of the event, we created bespoke social media boxing content, including dedicated filming with Savannah Marshall at the Fury Gym in Macclesfield where she trains,” Bertoli-Mitchell continued.
“Editorial interviews with BOXXER’s lead promoter, Ben Shalom, were released on bet365’s platforms, with a focus on the fight; bet365’s odds were promoted on BOXXER’s social channels and website through the build-up; along with far-reaching inventory occupied by bet365 on BOXXER’s digital content on Twitter, to name a few examples.”
This all served to create a strong narrative, as well as enhance bet365’s customers’ enjoyment of the sport – something which the spokesperson emphasised ‘has always been at heart’ of its brand’ – as well as providing an ‘unrivalled’ betting experience to stand out from the competition.
Breaking down how this storytelling is developed and delivered, both ahead of Shields v Marshal and this weekend’s clash, bet365 added: “As fight week develops, the narrative of the event and each individual match-up begins to unravel.
“It is our role to be ready with the latest odds to support these narratives, and provide our customers with the most in-depth selection of markets as rivalries intensify, exposure increases, and anticipation reaches fever point.”
As official betting partner of BOXXER, bet365 also takes on an odds provision role, with its feeds promoted via the promotion’s platforms in the build up to each fight night, including exclusive in-play optimisations, to ensure fans can back their favourites and ‘enjoy a faultless customer journey’.
So having identified boxing as a key market, how and why did bet365’s partnership with BOXXER come about, and what groundwork laid the foundations for the successes of the past few weeks?
“When partnership discussions began with BOXXER in Autumn of 2021, we were compelled by their commitment to innovation and unlocking access to the greatest live sporting events,” bet365’s spokesperson noted.
“And until you’ve experienced a night of live world-class boxing, it is hard to describe how thrilling it is, watching superstars go toe-to-toe in the ring.
“We wanted to share that excitement with our customers and followers, not only to deepen fans’ understanding of the events and fighters, but to deliver that ringside feeling from their living room.”
Shared synergies, shared success
Reflecting on the history of bet365 and BOXXER, SBC noted that both firms can be seen as examples of British success stories in two highly competitive and fast-paced segments of global sports.
This was a sentiment keenly shared by bet365’s representative, who observed that the Stoke-on-Trent-founded company has established itself as a ‘worldwide brand’.
bet365’s operations cover 75 sportsbook markets and live-streaming 600,000 events to 80m global customers in 160 countries – adding that Manchester-based BOXXER is also experiencing upward trajectory in its own field.
“Our partners at BOXXER, originating just 40 miles away in Manchester, are taking similar steps to international recognition, following events in Europe and plans for the US and Latin America,” the spokesperson continued.
“This ambition to grow globally is key for bet365, as we look to entertain and engage boxing fans around the world.”
Likewise, Bertoli-Mitchell similarly pointed to an ‘alignment of values’ between the boxing promotion and the bookmaker, recognising that bet365 has established itself as a ‘leader in its space’ and so the partnership ‘really made sense for both sides’.
He added: “bet365 saw what BOXXER wanted to bring to the sport and the rapid rate of growth we had undergone in just a few years, and bought into our vision to change the way boxing is perceived, consumed and enjoyed.
“The future between the two companies is bright and we look forward to continuing to grow together, and to developing the collaboration even further.”
A commitment to disruption
In Bertoli-Mitchell’s view, the synergies between BOXXER and bet365 are ‘numerous’, whilst the latter company – as well as praising the promotion’s commitment to growth – was particularly impressed with its partners aim to disrupt the sport of boxing.
Denise Coates’ company is itself no stranger to disruption, having made an early start to capitalise on the then-growing trend of online betting back in 2000, to secure a dominant position in a vast global online market by 2022.
This commercial journey is indicative of a ‘highly innovative and digital-centric’ strategy present at both companies, with BOXXER noting in particular bet365’s influence on the development of numerous web-based betting products over the past 20 years.
As bet365 explained: “Working with a partner who shares a vision to deliver innovative, exciting access to the biggest live sports events, means there are multiple brand synergies.
“As the original pioneers of In-Play betting, bet365 have watched with keen interest at how BOXXER have disrupted the sport of boxing, driving a new approach to championship events, but also to more localised series events.”
Meanwhile, at BOXXER, Bertoli-Mitchell that the company has ‘disrupted the sport’ since launch in 2018, setting a goal of attracting more millennial audiences to boxing.
The firm has also adopted different formats such as its Series tournaments and enhancing sporting transparency ‘for a modern generation of sports fans’.
He added: “The two parties are also united by a commitment to excellence – whether that’s bet365 delivering best-in-class service and an unrivalled user experience to its customers, or BOXXER setting new standards for event production and content creation.”
Concluding their joint assessment of the partnership, both BOXXER and bet365 reflected that a combined focus on storytelling and sporting narratives is a shared passion of both brands, driving fan engagement, advocacy and understanding.