Philip Canavan: Brands will have
to learn on the job in US sports

Director and Founder of SEM Global, Philip Canavan has emphasised that betting and gaming partners attempting to expand into the US market, will need to learn on the job when it comes to engaging activations. 

Speaking to SBCNews, Canavan underlined that there adaptation will be key to brands overcoming the slight differences between the European and US markets.

He stated: “I think the US sports fan is slightly different to the European fan/traditional fans that we are used to engaging with. Particularly with European operators in the UK, the focus is largely on football and horse racing in terms of the returns, the US is obviously a different beast. 

“There is possibly more engagement in the US in terms of on a wider demographic, for example the whole family will be Carolina Panthers fans and will sit down to watch the game together so engagement levels in some way are higher. At the same time, it doesn’t necessarily have the history and the emotional tie in that perhaps European sport does so it’s going to be interesting. 

“Brand visibility is a big thing and there are restrictions around sports franchises in the States and how the can interact with international partners so there are guidelines around use of I.P within a 150 mile radius of the stadium for example. That obviously presents a problem for international operators who are headquartered perhaps in Asia or Europe looking to capitalise on for example the Philadelphia 76ers IP and player imagery.”

Despite these differences and difficulties, Canavan explained that traditional methods which focus on the basics such as brand exposure, fan engagement and value for money should work in the US regarding the link up between betting and gaming partners and US sports teams. 

He added: “We’ve worked on a number of deals in various sports and there’s a tried and tested method that should work across US markets as well where you take the basics of brand exposure, fan engagement and value for money. If you have those three elements to a deal then it can’t fail as long as its activated accordingly so there’s no reason why the deals cant replicate the European model, but with that being said there are going to be more restrictions around the US visibility.” 

With this being said, there are complications surrounding US sporting franchises that are owned by the leagues as opposed to the independent owners of European sporting clubs.

Canavan concluded: “We’re going to have to be clever about it once we start to work in those markets, digital is going to be huge in terms of social campaigns. We are going to learn as we go, but there will be methods that we’ve utilised across European partnerships which will still continue to work in the US.” 

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