Justin Geiger, Spotlight Sports Group: Building betting confidence through Superfeed

By | May 24, 2021

Three quarters of sports bettors prefer picks and projections over raw statistical data, said Spotlight Sports Group VP Sales Justin Geiger, as he discussed the recent launch of Superfeed – a feed turning data into digestible insights and verdicts for sports events.

As part of an exclusive interview for Gambling TV, he also explained the product’s ‘make more events matter’ slogan by highlighting that, on average, sports bettors believe they have actionable knowledge of about 5% of the sports betting calendar, leaving 95% where they would gain more confidence to bet from Superfeed-driven research.

Geiger later predicted that Superfeed will make a big splash in the US, both for sportsbook operators and media sites who want to maximise the potential of sports betting for their highly engaged audiences. 

SBC: What is Superfeed? And how did it come about?

JG: It starts with the legacy of the company. Our heritage is built on 30 years of trusted legacy through the Racing Post brand. Today we offer six prominent digital betting brands globally. And so Superfeed is an evolution of the expertise we have gained across these brands to deliver timely actionable betting intelligence to sports bettors. 

Our B2B customers – sports media companies as well as traditional sportsbook operators – are constantly seeking to deliver a distinctive experience that adds value to their community, keeps them engaged in their platform and ultimately gives their bettors more confidence across more events. 

Through some independent survey data, we learned that nearly 75% of sports bettors prefer picks and projections to raw statistical data when making a bet. So it only made sense for us to take this core competency – creating bet stimulating content – for a global audience and empower our B2B partners and customers to do the same.

SBC: You mentioned supplying both media sites and sportsbook operators; how is this weighted towards one or the other?

JG: I think it depends on the market, so if we’re talking specifically about here in the US, right now sportsbook operators are very focused on engaging their customers and growing their brands. So we are looking at sports media companies as near-term partners because they’re trying to get into the game. They have a highly engaged audience but they may not be serving the sports betting segment of that audience very well. 

Right now, I think our customers are weighted more towards sports media in the US, but we are excited about working with sportsbook operators too to help them grow, and keep customers inside their platform as the market matures.

SBC: Coming at this from a US perspective, how important was it to have the US sports included in the Superfeed launch?

JG: Yeah, definitely. I think the top US sports are critical for anyone looking to offer actionable betting intelligence. But we also focus on a wide range of sports to be able to engage bettors across the whole sporting calendar. 

Another piece of research helped us learn that, on average, sports bettors believe they have actionable knowledge of about 5% of that sports betting calendar throughout the year so that leaves 95% of events out there in need of research. It’s very important to provide highly engaging content around the top sports, but also serve up that same level of expectation of content for the others too.

SBC: You mentioned that people prefer the picks from the raw data; is there a balance to strike between stimulating a bet and pushing them towards a bet that they might not otherwise take?

JG: Exactly, so what we’re talking about here is an idea of confidence. Bettors usually believe themselves to be time poor – i.e. they don’t have the time to do all that research, so using raw data can be ineffective. They want actionable intelligence if they only have two or three minutes to make a decision on a bet before a game kicks off.

Giving them insights that’s founded on trends and data, but also has a verdict or opinion attached to it, helps build confidence on whether to make that bet or not. We want them to feel that the bet they are making is a smart one.

SBC: I wanted to ask about the transition of content from pre-play to in-play; how does the delivery change once the event goes live?

JG: One of the features of Superfeed is that we have a wide variety of content to serve the customer at different parts of their journey – whether this be pre-match or in-play. 

Pre-game bettors, typically, are more interested in longer form, hand-written analysis formed by data and trends but with more of a write-up feel to it when they can take some time to digest that information.

When you’re talking in-game is a whole different ball game. You have a very short window to make that bet, you have to make a decision about whether you take action on that bet before the odds change. It’s much more about serving up trends and historical information that is going to empower a decision in that moment, so that relies on some pretty sophisticated algorithms that we have deployed as well as our data science team that has refined these algorithms to serve up that data.

I can recall one case in point in my own betting experience. I was betting on the National Championship game this year. It was Alabama vs Ohio and it was a points bonanza in the first half – I think over 50 points were scored. 

Close to half time, you were looking at an over/under north of 80 for that game, so at that moment if an operator was using our content they would have served up a trend that said historically things tighten up in the second half of National Championship games. 

Teams make changes to their defence or offence to account for what the other team has done in the first half. In fact, it ended up beneath the total, and – I believe – lower than what was projected in the pre-game over/under total as well. 

SBC: Okay so we’re talking about combining the delivery of less time-sensitive and longer form digestible analysis pre-game and then the faster, shorter form insights to act upon in-game?

JG: Yes so that transition from one to the other is very important. And it leads up to what content is going to serve the purpose that a customer has at that moment. Pre-game you have a variety of different ways you can attack it – maybe the points spread, over/under markets or even player props. Our content is diverse enough in its ability to serve those looking at different individual markets in a game. 

When you move to in-game it becomes a much more targeted approach – the bettor has possibly already taken a bet pre-game, they might be looking to hedge or maybe the game is unfolding in a way they didn’t see coming and they want to find a way to capitalise on this.

SBC: When you launched this product, one thing mentioned was that sports bettors typically bet on just 5% of sports events. Given that this is such a small number, how do you balance the resources that go into these big events without compromising what you offer for the rest? Or if you flip that, how does the widest range of coverage impede on your ability to deliver the best service for the most popular events?

JG: One of the benefits of having such a legacy in the sports betting and racing world is that we’ve developed a very deep editorial bench. So we have the capacity to handle giving informative, targeted information on the big events without letting the quality of this information drop off for the others. 

There are so many other events going on around the likes of the Super Bowl and World Series, and our customers are relying on us for the betting intelligence to give them the confidence to make those bets.

SBC: It might be a sort of generalisation but the US punter is typically seen as very stat-oriented; do you think then that Superfeed might end up having the biggest impact on the US audience?

JG: You’re right about the US bettor. You can almost sometimes have too much statistical information, especially when you’re looking at raw data. Our job is to be able to help our users and customers understand what content is going to be most relevant to them – so they don’t get lost in the data but focus on key trends. 

Our B2B partners will have customers ranging from novice bettors all the way through to expert bettors, and we need to be able to serve content that is going to meet each of them at their individual journey.

SBC: What is the roadmap for developing this product as we go along; is it more sports, more events, do you see a change in the delivery process etc.?

JG: I think it’s key to be listening to your customers. Growth is going to depend on a close dialogue with our customers to understand how they see their audience maturing, to make sure we stay ahead of trends they’re seeing to supply the right content at the right times.

SBC: And final question, what constitutes a successful first 12 months for Superfeed?

JG: I think what’s most of interest for us is that Superfeed is the right product for the right audience. For example, as I mentioned the sports media sites have very engaged audiences but a segment they might not be addressing. We want to be the vehicle to do that. 

12 months of success is being able to prove to our customers that they are now active participants in the sports betting market, and for the sportsbook operator side it’s about helping them in the journey they’re in now. We’re in this beautiful race for market share. Superfeed will be successful if we can meet them in that journey now.

To watch the interview in full, click HERE.

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