The changing teams of Australia’s sports betting industry
August 13, 2015
By Suzy Sliwczynski, Marketing Manager, Global Reviews
Global Reviews, the leading online customer experience research firm has released its study into online sports betting brands. The research looked at the various online betting agencies in the Australian marketplace and how well punters recall these companies, especially with recent rebranding and corporate activity.
The research found Sportsbet and TAB remained the two leading names with a strong foothold on the market while challenger brands such as Ladbrokes, Unibet, William Hill and UBet failed to draw additional market share away from any other brand.
Corporate activity affecting brand traction
Over the past 12 months there have been a multitude of changes to the online sports betting industry – specifically amongst the players in the market. Since late 2014, the following changes have come into play:
In August 2014, James Packer’s Crown took full ownership of Betfair.
In December 2014, BetEasy (which had been only established in March 2014) was taken over by Crown.
In February 2015, Sportingbet began rebranding to William Hill. However, Centrebet and Tom Waterhouse are yet to be renamed with Centrebet expected later in 2015 and Tom Waterhouse in 2016.
In mid-March 2015, BetEasy rebranded as CrownBet.
In April 2015, TattsBet became UBet.
In June 2015, talks between Ladbrokes and Coral – two major UK players has begun
With all these brand changes – the question is: are punters aware of the changes to the brands in the market, and what impact is it having?
To answer this question, Global Reviews has been running a series of monthly studies aimed at finding out firstly which brands punters are recalling and secondly, how they then go on to research and select a company to place a bet through. Looking at each group of sports betting companies, we can see how branding changes are impacting the brand recall from prospective punters.
Since Crown took full ownership of Betfair, brand recall rose slightly and has since maintained a relatively steady rate.
BetEasy was slowly improving, but was unable to maintain any level of consistency.
CrownBet’s launch has seen a steep rise in brand recall hitting BetEasy’s previous record within just two months and meeting Betfair’s recall by the third month.
With the significant sponsorship coverage of the AFL by CrownBet, it will be interesting to watch the rise of this Australian owned provider.
TattsBet has seen monthly rises and falls since the announcement of the rebranding in November 2014.
Within the first month of the rebrand rollout, TattsBet and UBet are within 1% of one another.
With the rollout still to continue, it is anticipated that by July’s study UBet will have overtaken TattsBet.
William Hill Group
Prior to becoming an operational brand within Australia, there was some, albeit minimal, recall of the brand.
Since officially rebranding Sportingbet as William Hill in February, brand recall has begun a gradual increase.
Centrebet, the next brand to be changed over to William Hill, is now below William Hill in recall – barely sitting above the now non-existent Sportingbet which some still believe to be an active brand.
After hitting an impressive 50% recall during Spring Racing season, Tom Waterhouse has declined down to 23%.
As Tom Waterhouse is a strong brand during October/November, it will be interesting to see how William Hill will approach this coming Spring given Tom Waterhouse isn’t expected to be rebranded until 2016. It would also be of interest to see if and when William Hill will reach the heights of Tom Waterhouse.
The rest of the field
As Crown, Tatts and William Hill play amongst themselves, industry leaders Sportsbet and TAB continue to dominated the market and have even seen an increase in their already impressive brand recall rates.
Ladbrokes has seen gradual improvement over the months, but still sits below the consistency of Bet365.
Luxbet and Unibet are continuing to run alongside each other, appearing to alternate in brand awareness from one month to the next.
Active punters may be aware of the changes, but the Spring Racing only punters are likely to return in a few months’ time only to discover the brand they bet through last year no longer exists as they had previously known it.
This acts as a risk further down the research process to the moment of finally selecting a brand to place a bet with. The final preferences of punters tell a similar story to that of the brands they can recall.
The strong get stronger
Sportsbet and TAB are the number one and two brands preferred by punters with half of their final preferences coming from those who currently bet with them, while the other half are from taking punters from other brands as well as picking up those who are currently not members with any sports betting companies. Meanwhile, BetEasy, Betfair, Ladbrokes, Unibet, William Hill and UBet are not taking market share from any other brand – all final preferences were current members of that site.
We can see from the research that there is a lot of movement within the sports betting industry. With these changes comes a mix of success stories and potential uphill battles. If these levels of changes continue, punters are likely to struggle to keep up and confuse who is actually in the market. Meanwhile, constants Sportsbet and TAB are still holding strong and sitting well ahead of the rest of the industry.
With that in mind, now is the time for Crown, Tatts and William Hill to position their brands clearly within the market, otherwise they may lose out this spring.
View our webinar to learn more about how punters are perceiving sports betting websites.
To find our more, contact:
Ché Carbis Regional Commercial Director Global Reviews