Nicola McGeady: Ladbrokes’ landing in the entertainment world

Nicola McGeady: Ladbrokes’ landing in the entertainment world

Entertainment is embedded in Ladbrokes’ products, the bookmaker’s Head of Public Relations, Nicola McGeady, explained to SBC shortly after the company signed a unique partnership in the events space. 

At the end of July, the Entain brand signed a deal with AEG Presents, The O2 and NME, which saw the launch of Ladbrokes LIVE. A fan rewards platform offering entertainment prizes such as tickets to live music and comedy events, there is no betting involved but the offering does serve to introduce customers to Ladbrokes’ ‘World of Play’.

Convergence between betting and entertainment is nothing new, as betting itself is viewed simply by many as a form of entertainment – this is something Ladbrokes has always sought to encapsulate, the firm’s PR lead explained.

“We want to reflect entertainment in the products and services we offer our customers too,” McGeady remarked. “It means that our new casino and betting propositions also have entertainment embedded in their development. 

“Games like Slot Rivals and its football equivalent, Clash of the Day, are industry-first, peer-based, free-to-play games that bring ‘We Play Together’ to life. Our free-to-play football Half Time Quiz is another entertainment product for us, which goes live every Sunday in the last Premier League match of the week. 

“Golden Goals is another entertainment led football game for us, leveraging football content in a fun scratchcard style game with free plays for our Fanzone football customers.”

In its simplest incarnation, betting is an extension of the sports entertainment ecosystem, adding an added layer to fans’ viewing of teams and athletes. 

The aforementioned convergence of betting and entertainment has become ever more visible in recent years, demonstrated by companies such as LiveScore Group and DAZN.

McGeady stressed, however, that for Ladbrokes the focus on entertainment is nothing new,demonstrated by the bookmaker offering odds on popular television programmes and awards shows.

“Ladbrokes has always offered people an opportunity to bet on the outcome of popular culture events, from Strictly Come Dancing to Eurovision, the Baftas to Brit Awards, so entertainment has always been in our blood,” she continued.

“The launch of Ladbrokes Live is an exciting and ground-breaking new venture in the world of entertainment, and a continuation of Ladbrokes presence in the entertainment space.”

This entertainment focus is further demonstrated in the group’s marketing, McGeady emphasised, referencing two of the group’s most high-profile advertising campaigns which tapped into popular culture.

Released in 2021 and 2022 respectively, the commercials in question compared the unity of music and sports in the first case, and in the second made a spin on an iconic scene from one of cinema’s biggest sporting films.

McGeady continued: “The May 2021 launch of the Euros’ Drummers campaign which cast hundreds of skilled and experienced drummers in an iconic TV spot, and the creation of Ladbrokes’ hero brand TVC “Rocky”, which has aired since August 2022, are two recent examples of this Ladbrokes direction.

“This innovation in cinematography has earned us multiple industry honours from Cannes Lions to British Arrows, even beating James Bond to an award – signalling to us that we’d really landed in the entertainment world. 

“We’ve backed this up by working with industry collective #WeMakeEvents and working with bands like The Subways, The Red Rum Club and The Sugababes over the last few years.”

As noted above, the Ladbrokes LIVE platform does not have a betting element – therefore, what is the immediate impact of this deal on a company whose bread-and-butter business is bokmaking?

To a company outsider, the most apparent benefit would be marketing and advertising, with the partnership promoting Ladbrokes’ brand to a wider audience of entertainment lovers.

This is achieved not just via the fan rewards platform itself, but also by the inclusion of a Ladbrokes LIVE Private Box at The O2, one of London’s biggest music venues, while also offering free tickets to the newly launched Club NME.

Expanding further on this, McGeady added:  “The credibility of working with two of the biggest global leaders in the entertainment space, in AEG Presents and NME, is really exciting. 

“Working with AEG bring us the nationwide access to free tickets for the best live UK shows with a range of talent and events. Partnering with NME brings us the intimate shows and the unexpected opportunity to bring back Club NME that we know readers and music fans love so much – it’s going to be a fun journey for our colleagues and customers.”

The partnership between Ladbrokes and two entertainment giants is indicative of the ever expanding relationship between betting and entertainment, demonstrating that the industry’s visibility can extend beyond the traditional avenues of sports to other areas such as music and film. 

However, with regulatory change on the horizon in the UK and some pressure being placed to reduce bookmakers’ visibility, such arrangements could face further scrutiny…..

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