Bettingpro – Festive Thinking…getting serious about SPOTY 2016.

Neil Roarty

The Christmas break should not signal a market slowdown for bookmakers. Bettingpro.com editor Neil Roarty takes a look at the BBC’s 2016 ‘Sports Personality of the Year’ award and why this ‘festive market’ should be taken seriously by betting stakeholders.

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The BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award is one of the highlights of the festive TV calendar as it brings families together for a few hours to reflect and reminisce not only on the athletic achievements of the past 12 months but also on where they were when each occurred.

The chances are that most people who remember Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win, Gareth Bale’s Euro 2016 goals, Max Whitlock’s medals in Rio or Mo Farah retaining his Olympic titles do so with memories of who they were with and where they were while watching. The BBC SPOTY helps to rekindle those memories and for that reason it is deserving of a place in the Christmas TV calendar.

The award itself is a godsend for those who work in online gaming as it unites multiple sports and much of the media related to the build-up focuses on the odds of the key contenders. This means that there are several promotions startegies to drive traffic and players to sites, regardless of whether your business is promoting in-play tennis tips or bookmaker free bets.

There’s a logical tie-in to virtually any aspect of online sports betting with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and the first thing anyone who works in the industry should be looking to do is to ensure that they have it adequately covered on their sites.

This coverage can take many forms. Maybe you want to focus on the bookmakers’ odds on the event? Andy Murray has been the favourite for a long time but in the past month the Scot’s odds have been slashed from 8/11 to 1/6.  Is he still value at that price? Have the bookies been taking so many big bets that they feel obligated to make Murray so short? It is worth remembering that not everyone outside of the industry will have been paying so much attention to the price fluctuations and so may not realize that Murray is such a certainty with the layers. It may seem obvious but just tell the public who the favourite is and why, as that will get them interested in the event and the betting.

Perhaps you do have some sports sites and the focus is much more on news and appealing to a particular audience. In that case you will be wanting to write blogs, run polls and discuss whether or not a particular sportsman or woman either deserves his or her place on the shortlist or should have been nominated.

Boxing fans, for example, will be up in arms that Anthony Joshua has been excluded from the BBC’s shortlist while racing fans are constantly annoyed that their heroes are overlooked when it comes to the nominations. Nick Skelton is included for his Olympic exploits but what about the jockeys who put their lives on the line every day of every week from Carlisle to Cheltenham?

Horse racing is actually a perfect example of how the sports betting community was able to get behind an athlete, with the racing fraternity running a successful campaign in 2010 in support of AP McCoy. There were races renamed as the “Vote for AP McCoy to win Sports Personality Of The Year Chase” and race-goers were urged to vote for the Northern Irishman. McCoy ended up winning the 2016 SPOTY award and that kind of success story should serve as an inspiration to other sporting communities.

Social media offers the chance to discuss these issues ahead of SPOTY and with it comes the opportunity to push angry or emotional commentators to the betting odds. Don’t like that Murray is favourite? Bet against him. Don’t think Mo Farah has the public’s support? Here’s how you can bet on him not even making the top three.

The crucial thing is to be a part of the conversation and to advance it in a direction that suits your business. This year the awards ceremony is in the Genting Arena. If you’re a Casino affiliate then there’s a blog post waiting to be written right there!

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Neil Roarty – Editor – Bettingpro.com

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