Just two weeks after JDG Sport was hired by Betfred to optimise title sponsorship of the 2017 Super League, we caught up with Managing Director James Gordon to discuss the use of agencies for activating sponsorship and reaction to the number of gambling companies getting involved in Rugby League.
JDG Sport, a provider of sports content and marketing services, will provide Betfred with significant coverage on its Love Rugby League portal and a deep knowledge of the sport to boost activation for one of Betfred’s biggest marketing initiatives.
SBC: In an increasingly online world, how important is it for the success of the partnership that both companies are based in Warrington?
JG: It’s great for local business. I don’t think it’s imperative, in the same vein that I get frustrated that lots of London-based agencies are used simply because they’re in London, rather than using others. But for perhaps offering a more bespoke service and growing the relationship, it is handy for us to be able to bob down and see the guys there at any convenience.
SBC: Do you think that the perceived ‘under use’ of marketing agencies for sports betting based sponsorships is to do with the industry’s reputation for innovation, and a subsequent reluctance to seek external help?
JG: Marketing is already a core part of what betting companies do, and as such when they go for sponsorship, it is often to assist what they’re already doing. Some betting companies have been good in creating their own voice and personality online, so you can see why they would want to do the same with their sponsorships.
That said, using agencies such as us means that they can perhaps get in to the nitty gritty with fans, and ensure that their messages are relevant and appropriate to a fanbase which might be sceptical of gambling sponsorships.
SBC: Betfred’s deal with Super League is believed to be worth between £850,000 and £900,000 a year; is this the biggest marketing initiative you have worked on as a company?
JG: Yes, certainly. We have worked with several of Super League’s secondary partners, but this is the first time we’ve struck a deal with the lead sponsor, which is a great boost for us as a company. We’ve enjoyed great results with the secondary partners, such as Foxy Bingo and Kingstone Press, in the past so we were determined to get Betfred on board and I’m happy we’ve done so.
SBC: Do you think that Betfred sought help from JDG Sport not only because of your deep knowledge of Rugby League, but also to appease some of the negative reaction towards having a betting company as the competition’s title sponsor?
JG: First and foremost, we own and operate the leading rugby league website in the UK so hopefully that was the main reason! We aren’t in the business of crisis management, but I think a small amount of negativity comes with the territory when it comes to the gambling industry.
There does seem to be an increased murmuring about the sheer volume of gambling sponsorships, but I think rugby league as a sport really needs the commercial support and revenue it brings, and as such most fans are happy to have a reputable brand on board. I’m sure we’ll be looking at communicating with rugby league fans on a suitable level to help Betfred activate their sponsorship successfully.