Sportradar’s Stefan Debus: live streaming to boost sportsbook success

Sportradar’s Stefan Debus: live streaming to boost sportsbook success

With the continuing growth of in-play and mobile betting, and the convergence of the sports betting and media industries, the effective use of streaming and audio-visual (AV) services is becoming ever-more essential for operators to attract and retain customers.

Stefan Debus, Senior Director – AV Global Commercial at Sportradar, discusses the key findings from the company’s recent whitepaper, “How live streaming can super-charge your betting business,” and outlines how betting operators can optimise their AV offerings.

Why has streaming become such a vital tool for modern sportsbooks?

Research by Sportradar has indicated that sportsbooks providing a greater live streaming experience are more profitable. A comprehensive, well-delivered AV offering is both valuable in terms of attracting bettors and turning them into repeat customers, which drives retention, loyalty, and revenue in a competitive market.

In fact, a comparative study we conducted found that one sportsbook streaming 84% of its events versus another streaming only 19% of its events over a nine-month period generated a significantly higher increase in handle per bet. 

We are seeing more operators recognising streaming’s positive impact on fan engagement, as live action increases dwell time on their platforms. Statistics from Deloitte show that 75% of viewers are more likely to watch a sports event if they’ve bet on it, so through streaming, sportsbooks are providing their customers with everything they need to bet and watch on the same platform. The rise of in-play betting has further contributed to this value, as customers demand more live updates from the action.

Why is it important to offer a wide range of content and round the clock coverage?

In a fiercely competitive industry, operators need to do everything possible to differentiate themselves from the rest of the market, something a comprehensive streaming offering delivers. The volume and content mix in an operator’s live streaming portfolio is a very powerful customer acquisition and retention tool but can equally deter customers if overshadowed by competitors’ streaming offerings.

Offering greater live coverage across an increased number of sports and at more times, provides operators with additional opportunities to engage fans, which is why Sportradar’s overall coverage spans more than 400,000 events annually across 17 sports. Live streaming different competitions and sports across time zones mitigates any betting lulls throughout the day, retains fan engagement, and opens international markets. 

Equally, bettors typically follow more sports than the average fan, so by broadening their AV offering, operators can satisfy demand and increase customer lifetime value.

A common trap we often see operators fall into is focusing exclusively on the most popular sports and peak times. Whilst it may seem that these high-profile fixtures generate more interest from fans, they only fill up a small percentage of a sportsbook’s weekly streaming schedule – typically on weekend afternoons and weekday evenings. This leaves the rest of the day relatively empty so a global and diverse streaming offering that offers a higher concurrency of streams can fill these gaps by providing customers with a constant schedule of content. 

How does stream latency and mobile readiness affect customer engagement?

Both betting and streaming are mobile-first industries and so latency and mobile readiness are essential for user-experience, customer retention and loyalty. 

Customer feedback shows latency is deemed to be extremely important by 42% of sports streaming viewers and important by a further 41%. Bettors are tech-savvy and projections suggest that mobile betting gross win is set to reach more than 60% by 2025, so optimising both latency and mobile readiness is vital if operators are to meet fans’ needs. 

If one sportsbook delivers a low latency, mobile-friendly service, whilst another has lagging streams and regularly doesn’t work on customers’ phones, it’s clear which one will be more attractive.

Sport’s value relies upon its time sensitivity, which makes latency essential for the credibility of an operator’s real-time and in-play betting offerings, as well as its viewing experience. We know betting customers habitually display shorter viewing times and switch quickly between events to find out the latest developments, making stream speed even more important to AV betting broadcasts. Any compromise on latency therefore can jeopardise the whole sports betting experience.

Tell us more about integrating data-driven betting insights into a streaming service and how that drives extra benefits for operators and fans?

Integrating data into streaming has multiple benefits: it enriches the experience and informs fans’ betting decisions, without them having to go elsewhere for this information, whilst retaining their engagement. Additionally, correlations have shown the more an individual consumes dynamic sports data, the higher the frequency and value of bets placed. 

Sports betting customers have an appetite for data-driven insights, so the provision of such data encourages fan engagement, with 40% more likely to watch an event if real-time statistics are displayed during live action. Moreover, engaging customers for longer creates greater loyalty, and the popularity of data-driven insights can incentivise fans to make repeat purchases with operators.

These insights can be integrated into the live stream through graphics or tickers and should feature relevant information, including historic match or team data, news, tips, or odds. This content can also be used to promote products and markets that correspond with customers’ interests, and it allows for greater personalisation. 

Developments in technology and an increase in customer willingness to share data is allowing these features to become more personalised. Personalised sports insights can entice prospective customers and nudge them down the sales funnel, converting casual followers into passionate fans. 

Based on the research, in today’s mobile-driven betting market, a comprehensive streaming offering can be a real game changer to an operator’s business. Live content can differentiate a sportsbook’s offering from its competitors’, delivering deeper fan engagement and an enhanced user experience, which translate into greater customer retention, loyalty and ultimately, higher revenue.

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