With the sports betting calendar almost coming to a standstill, Gambling Insider caught up with Spotlight Sports Group CMO Louise Agran and Digital Director Cian Nugent about how the group is dealing with the shutdown, and what affiliates can do to cope with the situation.
Just how much have sports betting affiliates been affected – is business more or less at zero?
CN: Most sports betting affiliates, just like operators, have been affected by this outbreak. However, horseracing is still taking place in Ireland and internationally in territories such as South Africa and the US, as well as greyhound racing in Britain and Ireland. Spotlight Sports Group, with our wealth of expertise across the racing industry, is well-positioned to maintain existing revenues and explore newer opportunities during this time.
What measures has Spotlight taken in light of the coronavirus pandemic?
LA: Our foremost concern was the health and safety of our employees. With more than 400 staff members across the group, located in the UK and internationally, we had to ensure we put in place the strictest procedures from the outset to protect them from the virus. After trial periods tested on smaller groups in the weeks leading up to the lockdown, we now have all staff members working from home or in a safe environment following government procedures.
This has obviously been a huge effort to ensure the Racing Post website and the newspaper is published daily, while operations continue across the group with no disruption to our customers and clients. Working from home is a new world for many of our staff and we have set up regular video calls, group-wide communication initiatives and ensured our team of mental-health first-aiders are on hand to help our staff through this unique period.
Are those companies predominantly working outside sports (casino, virtual sports, poker etc) generally unaffected?
CN: It’s hard for us to say exactly as sports are our main focus across the group. However, there are wider financial impacts caused by the current situation and I would expect these companies are affected to some degree with the economic downturn.
What advice would you give to affiliates and sports betting companies to help get through this time?
CN: There is no doubt we are going through an unprecedented time and it will continue to be hugely challenging for many businesses. However, it also gives us an opportunity to reflect on our businesses, to make sure that strategically we are focused on the right areas, and that operationally we are running as efficiently as possible.
We see any challenges as an opportunity and we can use this time to address projects that have a longer return-on-investment horizon, and which can sometimes fall down the priority list in the always-on world of sports betting. Companies with a strong product that provide value to an engaged audience will be well-positioned to bounce back once the major sports return.