What do you have planned for 2023? Product launches? Partnerships? Any sports competitions you particularly have your eye on?
At the time of writing, we are still heavily focused on the remaining portion of 2022, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been planning for 2023. Our burgeoning partnership with highly respected data analytics firm Twenty First Group has begun to take off and we are expecting this to really gather pace during 2023. The joint venture sees us pricing granular player props such as shots, passes, tackles, assists and offsides; a product we call PIPS (Player Incident Pricing & Settlement).
We also continue to refine and expand our core Goalscorer Pricing & Settlement feed (GPS), which now includes in-play options, as new and existing clients venture into new territories and require localisation options.
What challenges are you anticipating as a company and how will you overcome them?
There are a number of externally influenced challenges on the horizon for 2023. Everyone is enduring the pinch meted out via the cost-of-living crisis. ‘Gambling is recession proof’ is an oft-recited trope, but quite honestly, this time it feels different. The full force of stagflation in the UK, Eurozone and Americas is already causing chaos, with many operators in the US shutting up shop mere months into operations. The betting ecosystem is small enough that the tailwinds are sure to impact operators here, even those without US exposure.
It’s difficult to overcome global issues, but fortunately we are self-sufficient with reasonably low overheads and no debt obligations. This streamlined approach is one we feel essential to survival in a prolonged recession, as we expect.
Another challenge, is the current state of data provision in soccer. Last year (2022) saw a number of data providers either swallowed up by larger enterprises (Ortec, STATSCORE) or join exclusive partnerships (OPTA). StatsBomb has also entered the fray and announced a partnership with platform giant OpenBet. This has squeezed the supply chain, and is likely to push some third-parties towards non-official supply lines.
Where do you expect to be as a company by the end of Q4, 2023? What milestones are you looking to have achieved / what definitive progress are you looking to have made?
In the five or so years since Abelson Info purchased Super Soccer (my former employer), the company revenues have organically grown each year; we very much hope that this continues. Our specific sector of the market has shrunk in recent times as operators and platforms have snapped up suppliers on exclusive terms. This means there are further opportunities to plough, but rising costs and difficulty in acquiring the raw data needed for granular markets could become an issue.
Where in Europe (or outside) are you looking to grow the company? Specific country/ies? Specific region?
As a business we have a stake in two ventures, one a ‘Virtuals’ business, Virtually Sports, the other a company developing a sportsbook platform, OrbitalBet. We have high hopes for both and this demonstrates how we are using profits to reinvest and diversify away from our core business.
That said, our core business continues to expand, we are attracting interest from Europe and beyond, whereas when we launched GPS it was really a UK-centric product.
Your Goalscorer Pricing & Settlement product celebrates 10 years in 2023. What are your plans for the product in 2023? Are you targeting new regions and partnerships for the product? LatAm? US?
GPS has been a huge success for the business and is our most sought after and important product. We’ve added more leagues in the last twelve months than ever before, and the requests keep coming. Our biggest area of expansion, by far, is LatAm; our league coverage now includes, Brazil (including Serie B!), Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and, new for next season, Ecuador.
GPS in-play has witnessed a break-through 2022 and we fully expect to be covering more of our, already extensive, pre-match content in-play as we push into 2023.
Your Player Incident Pricing & Settlement (PIPS) was further cemented in 2022 after launching in 2021 with Twenty First Group. What do you expect for the growth of that product in 2023? Are you targeting new regions and partnerships for the product? LatAm? US?
As hinted earlier, we are really starting to see the benefit from this venture. As with all products these things take time to mature (and reach the front of operator’s product timelines!) and we expect 2023 to be the year that this exciting product really gains traction. As also mentioned, there is a data provision conundrum to resolve but we are confident we can overcome this and actually make the product more accessible to all operators, instead of it being, realistically, only within the purview of tier one operators.
What plans do you have to expand your Televised & Streamed Sports (TSS) product in 2023?
Although we believe we have the widest scope of coverage available in the market, we are always looking to add new territories to accommodate the requirements of our partners and to attract business from new regions.
With the majority of our TSS clients being sportsbooks much of the development is dictated by the opening of newly regulated markets. In 2023 we expect to see increased demand from the LatAm region as competition heats up for market share.
We are constantly reviewing our coverage and picking up new channels; with the ever increasing array of options of how to consume live sports events we expect to be covering well over 1,000 channels in 2023.
Are you looking to expand your Bet Stimulation product in 2023 to new sports or tournaments?
We are always looking for new opportunities to push the range of our Bet Stimulation products. While we maintain and improve our Greyhounds, Darts and Tennis packages, we also have authors available to cover numerous sports from American Football to Volleyball.
Are you noticing any sports or competitions in which data is becoming increasingly important across Europe that you are focusing on?
Odds-wise we really only focus on soccer but you cannot help but be drawn by the rising excitement in cricket betting. Clearly some operators believe the Indian market will become more receptive to gambling (though I’m not sold on that happening myself). It appears that there is plenty of optimism and jostling for position among those brave enough to operate there already.
Your PIPS product with Twenty First Group marked the introduction of a betting deep-dive into player actions and incidents. Are you looking at translating such specific betting data and markets across to other sports?
This is something that we gave long consideration a few years ago, we even went so far as to produce NFL touchdown scorer pricing, but we quickly realised that without a full suite of US sports and markets we’d have trouble convincing anyone to integrate. We looked at the increasing number of suppliers filling the space and decided that the barrier to entry was too high. Our findings showed that the cost of setting up a team to do this properly didn’t outweigh the risk and time to market we knew it would take to get the product established. We took the decision to focus on what we do best- GPS, TSS, and Fixtures and Results. There are no regrets because we have used the capital to invest in the other businesses I mentioned. If Covid taught us anything then it was that we should look to diversify our business interests.
Do you have any other new products or services in the pipeline? If so, please tell us about them.
Our focus is firmly on maintaining our current suite of products. PIPS, our collaboration with Twenty First Group, is still in its infancy and there is plenty of room for expansion and growth there.
Virtually Sports, one of the companies we have a stake in, has a very innovative in-play virtuals product that will be making a big splash, across a range of sports, in 2023.