It’s estimated that $35 billion was wagered on the 2022 World Cup worldwide, a 65% increase over the 2018 World Cup, where online gambling was only beginning to spread its wings. With the tournament fully in the rear-view mirror and the next massive international tournament taking place in the summer of 2024 (Euro 2024 in Germany), what can sportsbooks look to do in the meantime?
While casual soccer fans may only tune into major international tournaments, due to either national pride, curiosity or because everyone else is, club soccer is still massive and has a large following. The largest club competition of the year is the Champions League, which pits all of Europe’s strongest club sides, like Real Madrid, Liverpool and AC Milan, against each other to determine the class of the continent.
With that in mind, we put together this piece to look at how brands and affiliates can look to promote the biggest club soccer competition in the world and connect with users who may have grown fond of the sport through the world cup.
Champions League Tournament Info
You can truly understand the scope of the UEFA Champions League when it’s compared against other large sporting events. While the 2023 Super Bowl brought in 143 million viewers worldwide, the average for a UEFA Champions League final is estimated to be 400 million viewers, showcasing the massive audience massive soccer games can pull in worldwide, even if it’s not an international tournament.
The Champions League Final is the culmination of a long season of European soccer, with 32 teams standing at the start of the group stage and only one left at the end. This year’s final will take place on June 10th, in Istanbul, which promises to draw a massive crowd. While the teams aren’t certain yet, fans are sure to pack the Atatürk Olympic Stadium for the culmination of the soccer club season.
iGaming in Champions League
The iGaming market is more mature in Europe, which sees many teams, leagues and competitions already in partnerships with sportsbooks. When comparing this to major North American sports, where those partnerships are just beginning to develop, it shows you the strength of soccer within the iGaming world.
As an example, nearly 25% of European soccer clubs have sportsbooks as their main shirt sponsor, with Financial Services and Retail Stores coming far behind them at 13% and 9% respectively.
In terms of the competition itself, UEFA was quick to act, partnering with SportsRadar back in 2021 as their exclusive authorized collector and distributor of data for betting purposes, as well as UEFA’s official integrity partner. This partnership was imperative to ensure that data sportsbooks receive across the world are accurate and fair for this massive competition.
While the Champions League has yet to announce an Official Betting Partner for their competition, UEFA’s two smaller competitions, the Europa League and Conference League, have, as they connected with bwin back in 2021 as well. These two club competitions have the remaining top European teams, so even if they don’t have teams like Manchester City and Real Madrid often, the competitions are still home to massive soccer clubs and now associated with a top-tier brand in bwin.
The Final has received a ton of betting interest in the past, with YouGov putting together some intriguing statistics based on last year’s final between Real Madrid and Liverpool in France. Within the UK, they observed that six out of every 10 bettors who placed a bet monthly also bet on the final game, showcasing the reach of this massive event.
Champions League Marketing Ideas
For most sports or events, localization is integral and that’s no different here. The main difference is that the Champions League brings in teams from across Europe, meaning localization will mean something different in each country that the competition is viewed. Focusing marketing on star players that are either born or play club football in your market is a reliable way to go as these will be familiar to your audience.
The games also take place mid-week, which is different from European leagues, giving brands a unique chance to connect with users during the week, as opposed to only on the weekend. Creating mid-week specials on these games can help create extra interest on days where that’s not typically the case.
As soccer is a game that’s focused on star players and the Champions League pits them all against each other, having offers focused on those superstars can help as well. Creating bets on whether a certain player will have more shots, goals or even saves for the goalkeepers are easy ways to attract bets. The YouGov report also mentioned that, in the UK, singles were the most popular bet on the last Champions League Final, closely followed by Same Game Multiples, making this another type of bet brands should look to provide offers for.
If it wasn’t already known, the FIFA World Cup showed the strength that the game of soccer has in the sports betting world. While the Champions League isn’t able to bring in as many viewers as the World Cup, brands and affiliates should be looking to focus on the competition as the amount of viewers it attracts is enormous.