This year’s Betting on Football Conference at Stamford Bridge smashed its attendance records with more than double the visitors making their way to the home of Chelsea FC.
SBC Events has seen the conference grow substantially in the past year as it has extended from one to two days, with people flying in from all over the globe to attend what has become the industry’s biggest football and betting focused event.
Attendees came from six continents to discuss the latest trends and developments in the betting sector and were given the chance to sit in on one of the 35 sessions and visit the 40 exhibitors in the Great Hall.
More than 140 top-class speakers graced the Harris, Drake and Vialli Suites over two action-packed days at Stamford Bridge dealing with industry leadership, trading, marketing and perspectives on the delivery of football betting to global markets.
Among the session highlights were a solo session with John O’Reilly, Non-Executive Director at William Hill and a +25-year industry veteran. O’Reilly told the Betting on Football conference audience that he is excited that betting is entering a new stage, following landscape changes to the industry and its key stakeholders and that he has seen significant industry shifts in betting driven by new technology, changing consumer habits and regulatory change.
As the market moves further towards a full digital integration across all product verticals, O’Reilly, an industry marketing expert, warns that stakeholders and leadership have to be aware of ‘maintaining a consumer connection’.
“Let’s remember that betting is a personal and unique experience to the consumer, which cannot simply be modelled,” the William Hill Director stated.
Another session highlighted by attendees, was the opening session of the Trading and Operations track on Thursday morning. Among others, the session had Gaming Innovation Group Managing Director Christopher Langeland and GVC Holdings, Group Trading & B2B Director Jim Humberstone on the panel. The panel discussed the evolution of the trading floor, the increased use of algorithms to define odds and the presence of more data which “means automation will become generally more accurate and attuned”.
Humberstone said that there has been a “gradual change in the role of the trader over the last few years”, and that more automation on the trading floor has dictated that he is now hiring more customer risk profilers than traders.
Paolo Personeni, Managing Director of Managed Trading Services at Betradar was also part of the panel, and he expressed doubt over the notion that traders may become extinct within the next few years, by suggesting they would just be “applied in different areas”.
The progression of Betting on Football was emphasised by a growth of over 100% from the previous year. From around 400 in 2016, #bofcon2017 attracted close to 1,000 delegates, comprising operators, suppliers, media, service providers, regulators and football club staff. SBC is expecting to pass the 1,000 mark at this year’s Betting on Sports, held at Olympia in Kensington (13-15 September).
However, it wasn’t just the number of speakers or delegates that took a major hike. SBC Events more than trebled the exhibition space by opening the Great Hall. The 1,400 sqm space, which was already 85% booked up by the start of March, eventually hosted 40 high-level exhibitors including Golden Race, OPTIMA, BetConstruct, Digitain and Ganapati Malta.
Combined with two high end networking parties at Kensington Roof Gardens and Stamford Bridge’s nightclub Under the Bridge, delegates were given the opportunity to maximise their networking opportunities across the week.
Niels Erik Folmann, CEO of Danish Lottery Operator Danske Spil, commented: “I had two amazing days at Stamford Bridge. The event offered the perfect mix of great sessions and relevant business meetings. It’s probably the best industry event I’ve attended to date.”
SBC company founder Rasmus Sojmark highlighted the success of the event: “We’ve had amazing feedback so far, and everyone keeps telling us just how pleased they are with an event that deals with topics and business related to both the sports and betting industries. It’s a privilege to have created a platform that has become a vehicle for industry growth and high level business opportunities.”
SBC Managing Director Andrew McCarron added: “The industry has really responded to what we’ve tried to do with Betting on Football. We’ve invested considerably in the show’s agenda, its exhibition space and the networking opportunities so it’s really gratifying to see that hard work come off. We’re really happy that so many people have come from so far afield to support the show. Hopefully we will see them again for Betting on Sports in September.”
That the event was a great success, was further underlined by a post event survey among attendees carried out by organisers SBC Events. 97.4% of visitors responding to the survey said they would recommend the conference to a colleague
Delegates, sponsors, speakers and exhibitors from the 3-5 May event also rated the networking opportunities at Stamford Bridge as 70% ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’ while pinpointing this as the most important reason for attending the event.
Feedback is already being used to improve future events, starting with Betting on Sports (13-15 September), which 85% of survey respondents have expressed an interest in attending.
For example, an improved version of the official event app will be available for the conference in Olympia, Kensington, after 70% said that it had proved useful at #bofcon2017.
CEO of Mr. Green Jesper Kärrbrink commented on the event: “SBC is here to stay. Betting on Football provided great networking and seminar focus. With a sportsbook and football focus, the exhibition was also very targeted and you basically found something interesting in every booth. I’m impressed with the high number of attendees, which made it possible to have a lot of productive meetings in just two days.”
Meanwhile, Martin Wachter, the CEO for platinum sponsor and lead exhibitor Golden Race, praised the event’s growing business importance.
He said: “Betting on Football is an incredibly valuable event in the sports betting calendar. It’s now very much established and has grown year on year to the extent that for us, it’s second only to ICE in terms of business importance.”
These comments were emphasised by the survey responses, where 100% of the exhibitors that responded stated, that they were interested in returning for Betting on Sports.
SBC will be looking to build on the success of the event, by delivering more of the same high quality content, great networking opportunities, world class hospitality at some of London’s most spectacular venues and a further extension of the exhibition floor, to make room for 60 exhibitors, at their upcoming Betting on Sports 2017, with attendance expected to exceed 1,000 senior industry delegates.