The ‘Sport in Focus’ track at Betting on Sports (September 12-15) will culminate in a session dedicated to next year’s FIFA World Cup, as more than 120 operators and 80 high-level affiliates at #boscon2017 get on ‘The Road to Russia’.
AC Milan commercial director Jaap Kalma will be joined by an industry quartet tasked with educating over 1,200 delegates at Olympia Conference Centre on how to engage with a wider audience during Russia 2018, a tournament played at European friendly times.
‘World Cup 2018: The road to Russia’ has been perfectly timed for operators and affiliates seeking to put plans and partnerships in place ahead of the global footballing event. Ideas discussed will be expanded on during more targeted sessions at next year’s Betting on Football, which has been moved forward to 20-23 March to accommodate industry plans for the World Cup in Russia.
The rest of the panel is made up by BetStars managing director Zeno Ossko, Superbet group director of E-Commerce Jamie Hart, OpenBet executive vice president (Sports) Keith O’Loughlin and Shaun Simmonds, who heads up the marketing for Kenya based sports betting group SportPesa.
Hart said: "Recent technological development provides massive opportunities for improved customer experience in all industries. In my opinion, the betting and gaming industry has only been scratching the surface over the last 20-years and I'll be looking to bounce ideas around some like-minded souls at this important annual event."
The ‘Sport in Focus’ track, held in the auditorium on Thursday September 14, starts with a tour of the topical betting issues in tennis, cricket, rugby, basketball, boxing and US Sports.
Representing LeoVegas at the conference is head of Sports Andreas Bardun, who will be sharing insight about the Swedish brand’s ‘Summer of Tennis’ campaign on the tennis panel. Bardun added: “I think this is a great event to get the betting industry together with the sporting community, so to be able to contribute to this is an honour for me.”
The discussion will also tackle the continuing fight against match fixing, recently highlighted by suspicious betting patterns surrounding a recent defeat for Alexandr Dolgopolov.
‘Tennis: Staying between the lines’ will be followed by a session designed to ‘break the boundaries’ in cricket betting, as the sport looks to capitalise on heightened interest in the short formats of the game, exemplified by Unibet becoming an Official Betting Partner for Warwickshire CCC.
This diverse focus continues with a look at the disproportionately low level of bookmaker sponsorship in rugby union, when compared with its Northern-focused counterpart rugby league, and why LeoVegas has reversed this trend by partnering with 10-time English champions Leicester Tigers.
Richard Crouch, head of Rugby at Opta and a speaker on our rugby panel, said: “There’s certainly no lack of content and ideas to similarly engage and convert Rugby Union (and League) punters and having seen interest from Southern Hemisphere bookmakers to do exactly this, we’d expect European bookmakers to start following suit.”
After lunch, the World Cup finale will be directly preceded by sessions around three headline sports, starting with a focus on how basketball, a US-centred sport with huge appeal across Europe, continues to reach an audience that other sports can’t reach.
Just over two weeks after the ‘betting event of the year’ featuring Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor in Las Vegas, the conference will be assessing the value of sponsorship in boxing and the impact of ‘novelty bouts’ such as this on both the popularity and credibility of the sport.
The penultimate session of the track will switch attention to sports betting across the pond, as representatives of Redzone Sports, Digital Sports Tech and Don Best Sports combine to assess the appeal of the likes of baseball and American football, just a few months after the Supreme Court agreed to hear New Jersey’s challenge against PASPA.
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