The new year comes with a raft of new opportunities and events, with a packed sporting schedule seeing a range of popular sporting events.

With popular domestic leagues continuing over from 2021 and the Rugby Six Nations and Rugby League World Cup coming up, the year will conclude with the highly anticipated 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

However, there is one factor which distinguishes 2022 from previous sportsfest years, which is that the World Cup will be taking place in winter, something which has caused discontent among the sporting community to some extent due to its clash with domestic leagues. 

Shortly after lifting the Football Sportsbook of the Year Award at the SBC Awards, Ladbrokes’ Head of Sportsbook Proposition, Myke Foster, reflected on hurdles and positives of 2021 and looked ahead to what the new year could bring.

SBC – What have been the main challenges, if any, of operating a football betting service in 2021?

Myke Foster – 2021 has thrown up a few significant challenges – not least the unexpected addition of Euro 2020 this summer! But to be honest, 2021 has been something of a welcome return to ‘normal’ in our industry. 

We’ve been fortunate enough to have a (mostly) consistent sporting calendar, very much unlike the one we saw in 2020, where mainstream sports were cancelled, postponed and altogether removed. We managed to weather the storm better than most throughout the last 18 months or so and it really put us in a good position to succeed this year.  

SBC – With a packed football schedule next year (domestic leagues, international club tournaments, world cup) how important is it that operators enact a strong marketing strategy?

MF – I think now, more so than ever before, it’s vitally important that marketing and product work together to differentiate us within our industry. It’s no secret that we face tough competition on a daily basis – from companies who might be willing to spend more or shout louder about products and services, but we have seen some incredible success with new and innovative products such as 5-A-Side, which empower our customers to find new ways to engage with the sport they love. 

We’ve built very strong relationships with the marketing arms of the business to ensure that we’re highlighting the areas and products which really stand us head and shoulders above our competitors, and it’s been proven through in some of the huge campaigns we’ve run across the UK and digitally in the past 12 months – and that will no doubt continue as we carry our momentum into next year. 

SBC – Do you anticipate any challenges with next year’s World Cup taking place in the winter?

MF – The concept of a winter World Cup is an interesting one, of course- sitting down to wrap Christmas presents whilst cheering England on to (hopefully!) another major final will feel a little strange! But the Christmas period has long been synonymous with great sport. 

We see top quality football, racing & darts all coming thick and fast in a regular year, and the addition of a World Cup will just enhance our enjoyment of it. The real challenge will be some of the early kick off times for those working, I think there will be plenty of people tuning in from work across the UK each day which hopefully won’t affect productivity too much!

To read the full interview, click HERE

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