COVID-19 Sports

COVID-19: Contingency planning advice for sports betting affiliates and operators

It’s crazy how fast things can change, isn’t it?

Of course, we knew that COVID-19 – the current form of coronavirus spreading its way across the world – was becoming more of a threat. But few expected things to accelerate like they have since last week. 

The gambling industry was already suffering an impact, thanks in part to the closing of outlets in the likes of Italy and Macau. But now, multiple major sporting events and leagues are suspended until further notice. Some with a designated date on which they intend to resume, others not. 

Naturally, this could have a financial impact on sportsbooks and affiliates that focus on this vertical. Flutter Entertainment said yesterday that it could miss out on hundreds of millions of Euros this year. The economy is going to take a hit in general as the knock on effect takes hold. 

The situation is tough, but light can always be found in periods of darkness. In this piece, we’re going to identify ways that you can make the most out of this challenging period and contingency plan your affiliate business to pivot and grow. 

Look to promote other verticals 

The online gambling industry is huge and even if sports betting is your main offering, that doesn’t mean that you can’t look to promote other offers to your existing target audience. Heard the saying “the riches are in the niches” – well now’s the time to niche right down. Think outside the box and look at opportunities to promote other verticals to customers coming to your site. If you’re an operator, there’s a chance that you may also offer casino. esports, skill games, games of chance and so on. If this is the case, then you should look at either getting started with or growing an affiliate program revenue stream in alternative verticals. 

Affiliate marketing is great because when done well, it can provide a consistent revenue stream over the long-term. So, in addition to providing a cushion during periods of low sporting activity, you could possibly grow your revenue further once it’s safe for sports events to take place again by engaging your audience now , understanding what they need and want, and offering possible alternatives. 

Think about virtual , social & fantasy betting 

Granted, it’s not the same as the real thing. But many sports fans place a bet as part of their weekend routine, which they can’t do with actual sports right now. For these individuals, virtual might provide a temporary entertaining replacement. Social gaming is going to be popular, especially as people are being told to begin social isolation. How can you adapt your offering, your content and your services to provide a service remotely that your customers can still enjoy in their down time?

Virtual events aren’t affected by what goes in in the real world, so they won’t be postponed. Therefore, the market will always be open to people wanting to bet on it. This provides affiliates with something to promote until proper sports are back, while operators can also seek a way to maximise its exposure through their advertising. 

Prepare for the future 

This isn’t the first global pandemic we’ve had to endure. Nor will it be the last. Eventually, sports will return. In the meantime start contingency planning. Perhaps now is the time to launch that product you always wanted, write that content you keep putting off, build that course you wanted to deliver or develop that game you always knew would work. 

Use this opportunity to think outside the box. Recognise that during uncertain times, plans have to change, and that’s OK. Roll with it. Get support if you need to – join conversations or forums online and talk about your concerns with others.

During this period of inactivity, take some time to consider areas of your business that need to be worked on and invest in them. Is your website really optimised? Use this quiet period to do an audit of your affiliate business and team functions, get some new processes in place to help you work smarter and keep calm. Might be a good idea to talk to your customers more see what feedback they provide you and then focus some time to deliver on it for improvement? 

Sure, the current situation is going to be tough.

It’s going to be difficult for the sports betting industry but it won’t be forever. Identifying opportunities during this time will help your business to plan a contingency strategy, making you stronger when the events go back online again. 

Need some help with your business plan? Contact us and we’ll help you get seen and heard in the quiet times, support you with mentoring and advise regularly and keep you in the know on the latest news and industry updates.

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