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First, We Take Berlin: Football is Back. But Are We Back to Normal?

After long weeks of no sports to bet on, the German Bundesliga re-started. We look at bettors' behavior to see if you can really kick-off your normal CRM activity

One league re-started this past weekend, the German Bundesliga, and the sports betting industry is bursting with excitement (and so are we).

But critical questions remain: How will this excitement translate? Is now the right time to turn the switch back on, and reactivate all your CRM plans? When can we say that we are indeed back to normal?

Football Returned. Or did it?

After much anticipation from football fans worldwide, the players were finally back on the pitch. Just as the joy returned to the living rooms of all football fans, hope was revived to the sports betting operators that braved the COVID storm.

Last week, we shared our thoughts regarding CRM strategies that focus on the return of football, where we delineated between short- and mid-term plans.

We noted that we’ll need to flip the script in terms of automated marketing funnels and that there’s no single answer of when to draw the line between this “almost normal” to “fully normal.”

Still, we do have some indicators that can help us assess where we are on the “back to normal” curve.

We just look to the Corona-Pulse dashboard, where we can already see the increasing numbers for sports betting players:

A profound analysis can help us understand what happened last weekend and how to begin defining our back to normality rate.

What have you done, Bundesliga?

To examine the bettor behavior during this period, we analyzed the number of players who bet daily and compared each brand to Pre-COVID19 Saturday (February 29). Curious how your number of bettors stacks up against the benchmark?

The graph below, based on +100 European operators, shows a high increase in sports bettors who were active during the last Saturday (65% compared to the Pre-COVID Saturday), but with still a lot more room to go. Also, we added the Mid-week pre-corona line, to assess the return of our bettors, not only during weekends.

As the number/rate of active sports players gets closer to the baseline, the easier it will be to decide to reactivate your plans and work.

Germany First

As you may guess, not all countries responded identically. The below helps us understand how loyal fans are to their local leagues and their effect on player activity.

The expectation is very much aligned with the results – Germany experienced the most substantial return to normal’ trend with 86% of active sports bettors last Saturday, compared to the last Pre-COVID Saturday. Other regions, like Spain, are just halfway back to normality.

Another interesting aspect to explore is the average COVID19 Saturday (also presented in the graph), to understand the COVID19 impact severity on your region/business.

The Interactions with Online Casino

How did last week’s sports events affect the multi-product operators’ casino players’ trends? As for now, not much. The graph below presents the casino players ratio, compared to the Pre-COVID last Saturday:

One might expect that with sports activities resuming and restrictions lifting, the newly acquired casino players would revert to old habits and slow their iGaming activity. But so far, it seems that the opening of the first league didn’t have any impact on casino player behavior, and operators can still benefit from the uplift in casino activity.

In this and the coming weeks, more leagues will restart. Weekly tracking of players and benchmark behavior will allow your CRM team to understand better when the right time is to go full steam ahead, reactivate your automated, fully segmented, and frequent marketing strategies.

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Omer Liss

Omer Liss is Optimove's Director of Strategic Services, helping CRM executives of top online entertainment and e-commerce businesses optimize their customer retention strategy. Omer has vast experience consulting clients, analyzing their customer data and revealing actionable, data-driven marketing insights. Omer holds a BSc in Industrial Engineering and Management, specializing in Information Systems.