The re-emergence of the 2020 sports calendar tests bookmakers’ customer engagement and long-term retention capacities more than ever.
The unforeseen disaster of COVID-19 disruptions brings emerging capabilities such as free-to-play F2P games to the forefront as potential out-of-the-box solutions—and out of the shadows of being regarded as fringe products.
At this juncture, the light at the end of the sports-betting tunnel is visible in signs ranging from the resumption of the German Bundesliga to the return of UK horse racing at the start of June.
Recovery Strategy Necessary
Still, the content being offered is light, and will remain light for awhile, leaving the recovery at slow status at best, and something that sports betting operators need to be prepared to deal with—putting their ability to engage more to task than ever.
The appeal of free-to-play games as a retention tool is that they have already proven highly effective in keeping players from changing betting sites, as betting products which do not rely on underlying sporting contests while increasing user engagement.
Emergence During COVID-19
F2P has emerged as sports-based entertainment when no live sporting content was available to punters at websites, giving punters something to do on their sports betting apps while sports were suspended.
F2P also benefits operators and affiliates by increasing cross-sell opportunities to other verticals from within the operator’s offering, with diversified content going to be key to retaining engagement moving forward in post-COVID.
At this point, free to play (F2P) are significantly diversified, but fundamentally refer to a business model for online play in which game designers do not charge players to join the game. Operators instead have benefited from a revenue perspective with advertisements or in-game sales, including but not limited to payment for upgrades, special capabilities, special products, and play expansion packages.
More and more variations are arising in how users can have engaging wagering experiences with free-to-play technology at sports betting sites. While we know nothing can ever permanently replace live sports for wagering and engagement value, effectively integrating F2P technology appears a valuable tool for retaining engagement, competitiveness and revenues to protect against future physical closures.