While some sportsbooks see Africa as an afterthought, 22BET is “unafraid to invest” in it. That was a key takeaway from an SBC News interview with Olatunji Idowu (Director of 22BET Africa), who took us through the operator’s recent deal with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and mapped out some of its key target markets in the continent.
SBC: Can you summarise the key benefits of this deal for 22BET?
OI: We are very committed to the African market and see great potential in it. Becoming PSG’s first official online betting partner on the continent is a testament to that. Partnering with one of the biggest football clubs in the world will help us promote our brand and its products, introducing them to a much wider audience.
As one of the biggest clubs in the world, PSG is highly selective of its partners, so entering an alliance with them also helps prove to players that we are a large, world-class player in the sports betting industry.
SBC: What have been your key markets in Africa up to this point?
OI: In Africa, the top three markets we focused on the most so far were without a doubt Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya. The residents of those countries are very passionate about sports, which makes them a perfect fit for our business. But Africa doesn’t end there, of course.
There are many other markets we are thinking of expanding to in the near future. As of right now, we are also closely looking at expanding to Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Mozambique and Senegal.
SBC: And what was the role of Sportradar in setting up this deal?
OI: Sportradar has been one of our most valued and important partners for a very long time. They helped set up this entire deal by acting as the main intermediary between us and PSG. And we would like to thank them for that. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are.
SBC: Was your focus on digital and virtual advertising as part of this deal accelerated by the impact of COVID-19?
OI: As far as the PSG partnership goes, talks surrounding the deal had started long before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, so we can’t really say that the disease affected our focus or changed our priorities in any way.
SBC: But are you concerned that some of your non-digital engagement opportunities (e.g. meet and greets) might be diluted by the pandemic?
OI: As part of our corporate culture, we tend to prioritise long-term growth over instant gratification. We are aiming for a long and fruitful relationship with PSG, so we aren’t overly concerned about missing anything in the short term. The pandemic will pass eventually and we will be able to reap the full benefits of the deal then.
SBC: And finally, what’s your number one target from the deal?
OI: By aligning ourselves only with the most top-tier partners, we want to show our players that we are one of the continent’s greatest betting venues. We also want to prove that we are very serious about this market. While certain other sportsbooks might see Africa as an afterthought, we see great potential in the continent and are unafraid to invest in it.