Matthew Glazier of www.bettingpro.com explains how sportsbook operators and affiliates now depend on the Champions League as a rich source of income.

The familiar fanfare that is the Champions League anthem sounded on Tuesday 17 September as the group stage of the competition got under way, with the bookmakers taking a hammering on Match Day 1 thanks to emphatic wins for Real Madrid, Manchester City, Man City, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Arsenal.

Not that the operators will have been too bothered by the losses incurred, while any sportsbook affiliate worth their salt will also have been philosophical about negative revenues incurred considering it is all about getting customers through the door at this stage of the season.

The football fixtures come thick and fast, with customers enjoying big accumulator wins likely to reinvest over the coming weeks and months, especially as In-Play betting continues to enjoy a surge in popularity that has the bookmakers scrapping it out for prime TV spots before kick-off and during half-time.

Customers now smarter when it come to best odds

The competition is fierce when it comes to getting customers on board and punters have never been so price-driven. Operators simply won’t get the business by offering uncompetitive margins and many bookmakers are offering best prices about the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich knowing they might have to take a hit to get people through the door.

In essence, this is no different than entering into a CPA deal with an affiliate, with the operator’s forecasted lifetime value of a customer meaning that they’re prepared to pay out some initial winnings and a free bet to a customer.

Free bets are now more varied than ever

It used to be a simple case of a matched £10 or £20 free bet with the bookmakers, although many operators now design their welcome bonus to encourage loyalty, while others like Sky Bet have proved that you can offer the customer a no-strings-attached bonus and they will return to make a deposit and become a regular customer.

The bookies are constantly seeking new ways to provide the right hook for a new batch of players to increase their business, with an increasing number of operators now offering money-back specials when it comes to the big Champions League games.

Firms also create enhanced doubles and trebles in a bid to capture the customer’s imagination, with multiple bets generally proving to be a safe haven as far as profitability is concerned.
Champions League In-Play betting through the roof

On Match Day 1, customers had the option of eight games on the Tuesday night and a further eight on the Wednesday, with the bookies offering In-Play betting markets for every match.

While converting customers In-Play is a tall order for affiliates considering that players are likely to dart directly to the operator rather than mull over which bookmaker to choose, the margins are far more profitable when the match goes live and the odds start updating in real time.

Affiliate partners will now be looking forward to Match Day 2 of the Champions League at the beginning of October, with Arsenal v Napoli, Celtic v Barcelona and Manchester City v Bayern Munich set to be highly popular betting contests. What are the odds on a repeat win for Celtic against the Spanish champions?!

Matthew Glazier is the Managing Director of www.bettingpro.com, an award-winning sports, news and betting website.