InCrowd

InCrowd’s John O’Connor: Delivering betting-based engagement for fans and sports brands

Since the end of the domestic football season, InCrowd has been working with Sky Sports to raise anticipation levels for the FIFA World Cup in Russia.  

The fan marketing platform provider forged a successful partnership with the “multimedia colossus” to develop ‘Road to Moscow’, an interactive pre-tournament predictor game which saw 9% of those who played backing England to lift the World Cup.

We caught up with John O’Connor, the company’s head of business development and sports betting, to discuss the future of mobile first-platforms, and why games like Sky Sports ‘Road to Moscow’ are a significant step in the right direction for InCrowd.

SBC: John, can you give us a quick rundown of what InCrowd do?

JOC: InCrowd has built its own proprietary native mobile app platform. The initial focus was football but we are now active in cricket, rugby union, rugby league and motor sport.

InCrowd help rights holders understand their customer from both a transactional and behavioural viewpoint, and then use this information to deliver timely and relevant messages that drive engagement and enhance propensity to spend against the brand.     

SBC: How can InCrowd apply its experience in app development and data analysis to lead the way in regard to mobile-first technology within the betting industry?

JOC: Driving incremental revenue is a business fundamental for InCrowd. Having successfully launched mobile ticketing with our partner clubs, betting was an obvious “next product” to put in front of the audience we have developed.   

‘Road To Moscow’ is a key milestone for InCrowd and a statement of intention. After an initial focus on generating engagement and transactional revenues for rights holders and sports brands, ‘Road To Moscow’ sees us working with a multimedia colossus and with a tier one betting partner offering the transactional outlet.

SBC: What sets ‘Road To Moscow’ apart from the games we are already seeing in the industry?

JOC: The launch of ‘Road To Moscow’ is a step change from the free-to-play (FTP) games have been positioned as the universal panacea in the gaming industry, but there is a science to deployment – UX is vital, games must be intuitive and easy to play, engaging and entertaining with the ability to develop opinion and conversation.

The post prediction environment is crucial, and the betting transaction is just one of the engagement options. Unilateral solutions won’t deliver but ‘Road To Moscow’ does on all of the above.

SBC: What is the next step for InCrowd, based on the success of ‘Road To Moscow’?

JOC: ‘Road to Moscow’ generated over 2.6 million predictions in three weeks. It’s a prime example of something that really works and engages users.

InCrowd want to work with betting brands to help them deliver against sponsorship spend. We view betting as a similar opportunity to selling a ticket or a piece of merchandise. The engagement plays may be FTP games, but it could also be polls, voting on MOTM and goal/try/shot of the season.

The Our League app, developed by InCrowd in partnership with the RFL, enables Sky Sports viewers of Super League to vote on MOTM via app/TV dual illumination – this provides engagement for the broadcast audience and provides another customer channel for the title sponsor Betfred.

SBC: And what does the future look like for InCrowd?

JOC: InCrowd will be looking to work with new sports, in new territories and with new brands over the next two years. Increasing ticketing and betting revenue will remain a focus for the sports in which we are already active.  

InCrowd has always been focused on generating valuable fan data, but moving forward there is an increased focus on the visualisation and accessibility of this data for our partners. We are building sophisticated insights platforms with real time data that will become vital tools for stakeholders in sport to solve a number of commercial ambitions.

It’s all about understanding sports fans, fan types and their behaviours to tailor the right messages and campaigns to the right people at the right time, and crucially with digital platforms that allow communication to take place on a segmented and personalised level.