As announced this morning (25 January) FairPlay Sports Media (FairPlay/FPSM) has become the new identity of Oddschecker and its subsidiary brands, a rebrand needed to showcase the firm’s new global identity and expanded services beyond affiliate marketing.
Stuart Simms, CEO of the freshly rebranded group, spoke to Insider Sport shortly before Oddschecker unveiled its new FairPlay identity to sports and betting stakeholders last week.
Nothing new for Oddschecker or FairPlay….
Why embark on this course of action? Oddschecker is a heritage brand recognised by millions of betting customers around the world, renowned for its insights, content and – as the name would suggest – odds comparison services.
By adopting its new identity of FairPlay, the Bruin Capital-owned firm aims to draw attention to its full range of bookmaker and media partnerships.
In the case of the latter the firm is partnered with over 30,000 publishers globally via the Oddschecker, WhoScored and SuperScommesse brands, and its Confido network.
“This kind of media partnership and publisher partnership strategy is nothing new for us,” Simms explained. “It’s something that we’ve done for many years, with perhaps changing the technology and also the business model that we use to work with those publishers.
“It’s been a long standing key component of the Oddschecker Group, so Fair Play just enables us to bring this to life in a more meaningful way and share that capability a lot more transparently with operators and the industry, to understand what we’re all about.”
In the UK, Oddschecker has always been a very ‘consumer centric, almost horse racing centric’ brand, Simms noted, and via a group rebrand he hopes the company can broaden its appeal on a global scale.
Simms first joined Oddschekcer as CEO in November 2022 after departing from his previous position at competitor XLMedia. His career has also been defined by roles unrelated to sports and betting, however.
A 33 year career in technology has taken Simms to Silicon Valley in roles with Microsoft and Asian online retail giant Rakuten. A diverse background and experience, which Simms seeks to leverage from in the cutthroat affiliate space for igaming media.
Fair Play means empowering audiences
In the new look FPMS, this is defined by one term – BetTech. This underpins FairPlay’s ambitions for its brands with the aim of using data, technology and AI to deliver sports content and insights, pricing, bonusing and tips to a global audience of sports fans.
“I think of the business in three areas,” Simms added. “Audiences, how to engage as many audiences as possible and really empower them to get better information, better data and make more immediate and informed decisions.
“We also think of our operator customers and the ecosystem. How do we give them more insights, more data, how do we grow beyond odds? In their mind’s eye, it gives them more insight to do a better job and products and consumers that engage consumers.
“Then the middle bit is the network. How do I bring these audiences and those operators together in a meaningful way, as much as possible powering it through data, artificial intelligence and technology?
“That’s the BetTech piece, that’s how we think about the business and that’s how we’re going to position ourselves going forward.”
A data driven approach to sports fan engagement is the central pillar of Simms’ vision for FairPlay’s separating its brands from competitor offerings in a saturated media space, whether it be in the UK, Italy, North America, or any other market for that matter.
Throughout Simms’ discussions with Insider Sport and during the media briefing on the rebranding announcement, the phrase ‘levelling the playing field’ kept coming up.
Simms explained to Insider Sport what exactly FairPlay means by this. From a consumer perspective, this refers to granting sports fans access to technology, data, and machine driven tools, to improve the overall engagement and experience.
The term has relevance to FairPlay’s own multinational, multi-sport operations, however. As noted above, the company is active worldwide with an extensive range of sports media and betting partners.
Italy, for example, is a prominent market for the brand in Europe. It is partnered with high-profile sports media outlets in the country, such as DAZN – the rights holder to Serie A football – and La Gazetta dello Sport, via SuperScommesse.
“This notion of levelling the playing field is making sure everyone has the same data, products and technology available to them to get the best experience they can,” Simms continued.
“It’s been a bit of a mission and a rallying cry for us. But then in terms of how we reflect on that for key markets, the big change we’ve made for our business is that we used to operate in silos.
“The US business had different brands, a different platform and different technology, in some ways, to the UK business, and that would be different from Italy and from Spain.
“What we’ve done under my guidance is bring our technology team together, to then build our product team which works closely with the product team to build products that we can drop into lots of different markets from the get go.”
FairPlay’s place in the global playing field
FairPlay’s targets a global audience, with both North and South America – two continents which have captured the eyes and minds of sports and betting stakeholders of late – understandably high on the roadmap.
Given Simms’ background of working in the US in the tech heartlands of Silicon Valley, and given the extensive growth the local sports betting sector has enjoyed in recent years with 36 states now open to legalised wagering, FairPlay’s ambitions in the country are unsurprising.
“When you look globally, the US has a major part to play for anyone involved in the technology space that we play within,” he said.
“Obviously, it’s the largest market, it’s the fastest growing market and it’s a key place for us, but I wouldn’t say that’s necessarily dictated our strategy. Our strategy is about reaching global reach and creating a network that can operate globally – and Fairplay reflects that.”
Although noting that FairPlay is pursuing growth in the ‘fastest growing market’ of the US, Simms was adamant that stateside developments have not ‘dictated’ the firm’s strategy, which is more global in nature.
“We see partnerships in the US as being a key, perhaps subtle, change to our strategy that we operated in the UK,” he informed assembled media outlets.
This strategy, he explained, will “put our products, technology and data in the hands of other publishers and media companies at scale to give us access to a richer audience”.
The overarching goal of the rebrand and this strategy is for FairPlay to grow beyond odds, with recognition of – as noted above – its wider activities in sports media. From a content perspective, this will see BetTech used to underpin the consistency and execution of said content.
So what of South America? The Latin American betting market has exploded onto the international headlines with the highly-anticipated regulation of, which is now set to launch one of the world’s largest betting markets.
Simms expects FairPlay to continue the momentum of OGM in South America, largely due to a focus on football, the sport for which the vast majority of Latin American fans have a deep passion for.
Football is a great global lever, he observed, and an excellent medium for engaging new audiences both directly and indirectly. This focus on football will help FairPlay replicate its success in markets such as the UK and Italy in the developings ones of Brazil, and other LatAm nations.
He added; “We already, because of our Oddschecker brand, have significant domain authority across South America, which gives us a really good meaningful platform to be working to deliver some of the new technology.”
Tech agility needed to navigate headwinds
This increased convergence between the sports betting and media fields that FairPlay aims to take a more direct role in is an undeniable trend observed in both industries of late.
It is also one, however, which has caught some negative attention. In the UK for example, reform advocates have been vocal about betting’s visibility in sports and associated media, particularly during the 2020-2023 Gambling Act review.
Insider Sport was keen to hear if this was something that concerned Simms as FairPlay embarks on its new journey under a new identity, with a continued emphasis on media and bookmaker partnerships.
“This is why a more tech led approach makes a lot of sense.” Simms replied. “What we’re looking to do is provide consumers with as much information and data as possible, whether its predictions, tips and finding value in the market.”
He continued: “We are using technology and data to provide those personal experiences in a meaningful way, and then adapting that to their local market conditions that we see.”
It is of course early days for FairPlay under its new identity, but looking ahead Simms reiterated that the group is confident that its platform approach and focus on BetTech will prove invaluable.
Sports consumption is ever changing, whether this be through live streaming, mobile apps, use of websites or the traditional means of television, and with its new tech-driven direction, FairPlay leadership is confident in its ability to remain at the forefront of this varied landscape.
“That’s the direction that you should expect us to move is using this network that we have ways of interacting with consumers,” he concluded. “You should expect us to find more ways of delivering our technology and lots of innovative ways to those consumers and giving them a better experience.”