Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
With the global reach of European football (or soccer), it’s no secret that the FIFA World Cup is one of, if not the, greatest spectacles in all of sports.
Every four years, countries from around the world come together to celebrate football and cheer their respective superstars on to victory. As a truly international event, it’s one of the few chances smaller countries like Qatar and Costa Rica get to shine and compete on the highest stage.
It’s also one of the best sporting events to bet on in 2022.
In 2018, when Russia hosted the FIFA World Cup, online sports betting wasn’t nearly as common as it is today. Now that more and more countries have legalized sports gambling, and with the meteoric rise of iGaming content, the Qatar 2022 World Cup presents one of the best opportunities for sportsbooks and sports bettors to make a profit.
Not only will there be billions of people tuning in from all over the world, but we should see plenty of first-time bettors as well, given that this will be the first World Cup where people can wager online from the comfort of their own homes.
As a result, Qatar 2022 sports marketing campaigns are beginning to ramp up as sportsbook marketing affiliates search for ways to promote their brand without violating FIFA’s intellectual property.
Below we break down different online sports betting marketing strategies for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, as well as how the event will impact the gambling industry as a whole.
Fun Facts About The FIFA World Cup 2022
After nearly a century since the event first started, football fever has finally arrived in the Middle East, with Qatar set to host the 2022 World Cup over the next few weeks.
Not only is this the first time that football’s most prestigious tournament will be played in the Middle East, but it’s also the first time that the event will run between the months of November and December.
As temperatures in Qatar climb up to well over 37.78 °C (100 °F) in the months of May, June, and July, when the event is traditionally hosted. It’s the last time that 32 teams will be featured in the World Cup as well, as the tournament will expand to 48 in 2026.
Qatar won the bid to host the FIFA World Cup back in 2010 in what was a surprise turn of events filled with controversy. From rumors of Qatar bribing FIFA to host the tournament to reports of various human rights violations and the country’s strict laws against homosexuality, Qatar has faced some serious backlash since the decision.
Nevertheless, this is their chance to prove to the world that they are a country fit to host such a grand and global event.
Here are some additional interesting facts about the upcoming tournament:
- All of the stadiums are within a 55-kilometer radius of central Doha. Meaning that teams won’t have to travel long distances between games, unlike in previous tournaments.
- With Qatar’s energy and water-efficient stadiums and use of recycled materials, the 2022 World Cup is designed to be the first-ever truly carbon-neutral tournament.
- Stadium 974 is made almost entirely of shipping containers, 974 to be exact. Which will be removed following the event and turned into a new waterfront development.
- With the estimated costs sitting at around €213.9 billion ($220 billion), the 2022 World Cup in Qatar projects to be the most expensive tournament in the event’s long history.
- Qatar has an estimated population of 2.96 million and a land area of 11,571 square meters, making them the smallest host country in FIFA World Cup history.
Qatar 2022 Marketing Strategies for Sportsbooks
Regardless of how you feel about football or sports in general, there’s no question that Qatar 2022 is set to become one of the largest sporting events of all time. In fact, FIFA president Gianni Infantino anticipates that more than 5 billion people worldwide will tune in to watch the tournament, far surpassing Russia’s record of 3.5 billion in 2018.
With this in mind, mega brands like Adidas and Coca-Cola have already started ramping up their Qatar 2022 sports marketing campaigns to draw attention to the world stage, particularly by targeting younger Gen Z audiences. Only 23% of which claim to be passionate sports fans, according to a recent survey conducted by Emory University.
Due to this perceived lack of interest, companies are scrambling to find new ways to attract younger audiences, Gen Z in particular.
These are two key ways in which global brands are working to expand their consumer base to younger generations.
Premium Betting Experiences
Live in-play betting is one of the best features offered by sportsbooks with the advancement of modern technology. In fact, live betting accounts for 70-80% of many betting operators’ turnover from online betting, according to Suren Khachatryan, CEO at BetConstruct.
In addition to live betting, which naturally promotes higher levels of engagement, various sportsbooks also like to offer certain promotions to ensure that they retain their customers, per Casino.org.
Including competitive markets, free bets, improved odds, and cash-out options, sportsbooks also tend to offer welcome bonuses when you first register with their platform, as well as live streaming features to watch and bet on the games simultaneously.
Outside of exciting welcome or sign-up bonuses, one of the best 2022 FIFA world cup marketing ideas for sportsbooks is to launch prediction-style, free-to-play games. A notion passed down by Josh Joliffe, the Sales Director of Media & Engagement at Genius Sports.
Joliffe explains how free bet promotions and improved odds help get more people registered with a sportsbook, but they rarely lead to further engagement past the first bet.
However, if you can launch more free-to-play games, like Sky Bet’s “Super 6” or BetVictor’s “Million Pound Goal”, then this should promote more daily engagement and help to separate yourself further from the competition.
Adding incentives such as this help to make the overall experience more immersive and engaging, which is the number one way to attract younger audiences. Also, elevating your platform to accommodate a high volume of traffic and ensure smooth loading speeds and fast transaction processing is absolutely paramount as well.
Social Media Engagement and Accessibility
According to Kevin Kim, the CEO, and co-founder of Stadium Live Studios, the biggest mistake that traditional sports marketing companies make is focusing on showcasing brands on-screen during the game. As mentioned during his interview with SEJ’s Greg Jarboe, president and co-founder of SEO-PR.
Kim found that younger audiences typically spend less time watching the games and more time consuming them in a limited fashion on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
So, with all of the short clips and content being shared on social media, more sportsbook operators are being encouraged to engage with their audience using these platforms – as they present a fantastic way to promote their brand and attract younger audiences hungry for content, the majority of which are Gen Z.
In regards to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, this could include:
- Betting preview videos of upcoming matches/odds
- Player reviews post-performance
- Projected goals scored for certain team/player
- In-game statistics of shots, passes, tackles, etc.
In Kim’s interview with Jarboe, he noted that younger audiences just don’t view professional athletes the same way as older generations.
Nowadays, sports fans view these individuals as celebrities or artists first and athletes second. Meaning that a large portion of the population cares more about things like branding than they do the outcome of a game or the individual performance of a player.
Hence why so many professional athletes partner with billion-dollar businesses to promote their fashion, music, or iGaming content.
The reasoning for this is that many younger generations like to see themselves represented in a product. Meaning they feel closer to an athlete or organization if they promote the same interests as the consumer, thus creating a stronger bond between the brand and the customer.
Instead of trying to only target passionate sports fans, WeGotGame’s and Translation Royale’s CEO Sebastian Scheplitz believes that online sports betting marketing strategies should be geared towards making sports betting more accessible for all audiences, even casual fans.
As opposed to offering something limited to just sports fanatics, companies should be promoting a product that attracts people outside of their designated target audience.
The World Cup, for example, is a massive international tournament that hosts over 30 countries from different parts of the world. With it being such a global event, a lot of the people watching or following the games might not know anything about football but just want to see their home country succeed on the world stage.
By making sports betting more accessible, sportsbooks won’t just attract hardcore fans (and bettors) but even more casual fans as well, including those who don’t necessarily classify themselves as “sports fans”.
How to Market the 2022 World Cup Without Violating FIFA’s Intellectual Property?
While sportsbook marketing affiliates are encouraged to get creative with their approach to generate more fan interest, it’s important to understand what you can and can’t do without violating FIFA’s intellectual property.
As the FIFA Intellectual Property Guide has already laid out some rules that brands will need to follow in order to market the upcoming event.
Below is a list of things to avoid as well as tactics you can use to successfully promote your brand.
DO use the national team colors
One subtle way to attract more engagement is by utilizing the color scheme of a national team to customize the homepage of your website, app, or social media account and in promotional content.
Not only might this entice fellow countrymen to join your community, but it will also naturally attract attention from passionate football fans without hurting the brand’s identity.
DO implement football elements and slang
Embedding colorful and visually appealing illustrations of the sport to your landing pages, banners, and social media accounts is a fun way to create a more unique experience for your audience. This could include visual elements like balls, grassy fields, whistles, football goals, jerseys, etc.
Also, try to use popular terms or words commonly associated with the sport when possible, including expressions like dribbling, cheering, scoring a goal, increasing the score, and more during your Qatar 2022 sports marketing campaigns.
DO go multichannel
One of the best 2022 FIFA world cup marketing ideas for sportsbooks is to use multiple channels to power your marketing efforts. This means instead of just posting short clips to Twitter or Facebook, why not utilize email marketing also?
For example, Mailjet’s Beatriz Redondo Tejedor explains how sportsbook marketing affiliates could take advantage of Twitter on game days, with everybody reacting to the game in real-time. Then promote your brand through email marketing between matches to drive momentum leading up to the next game.
If you can successfully integrate email and social, it can go a long way in increasing your brand’s visibility and improving your overall results when all is said and done.
DO embed interactive material
When it comes to World Cup promotion and marketing strategies (Qatar 2022), one of the best things you can do for a seasonal event like this would be to add some interactive material to further engage with your audience.
Things like quizzes, interactive games, and pages with selected products for fans can go a long way in increasing your consumer base.
DO be inclusive
With more than 30 countries participating in the World Cup, you want to ensure that flags or other aspects that represent each country are being promoted as much as possible.
For example, you could pay homage to Mexico’s Aztec roots by creating advertising campaigns based on Aztec sculptures and mythology. Or maybe an Oktoberfest-themed promotion for our friends from Deutschland.
The point is to be creative while still maintaining a certain level of professionalism and objectivity.
DON’T use FIFA-exclusive elements
Believe it or not, some names, symbols, and even fonts are exclusive for only FIFA to use. This means they can only be used by the federation or official sponsors for commercial purposes. The list includes:
- “FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™”
- “FIFA World Cup™”
- “World Cup” or “World Cup 2022”
- “Qatar 2022™”
- official emblem, slogan or poster
- official mascot image or name
- official trophy image
- FIFA marks and logos
- official source of the event
DON’T neglect the rules
French advertising was under serious scrutiny following their online sports betting marketing strategies in Euro 2020.
As a result, I’Autorite Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), the French gambling regulator, recently passed a series of rules and regulations that require operators to maintain full transparency with their products, per Online Casino Reports.
The Netherlands are looking to outright ban untargeted gambling commercials in the coming months, and the United Kingdom’s Gambling Act, a crucial piece of legislation, is currently under review.
All of this is to say that we can expect to see stricter rules in place for World Cup advertising going forward. Be aware of what they are and how they could impact online sports betting marketing strategies.
What Impact Will Qatar 2022 Have on the Gambling Industry?
Bets on the World Cup in 2018 totaled approximately €132.28 billion ($136 billion), €7 ($7.2) of which was wagered on the final match alone, per Lineups.com, making this the most bet-upon event in history.
Now that more countries have legalized sports betting, including the United States, one of the biggest sports consumers in the world, we should expect to see these numbers skyrocket.
This is the first major global sporting event in which some of the wealthiest countries in the world will get to legally gamble on games without ever needing to even leave their house.
Football makes up an enormous portion of the international online sports betting market as well, with up to 90% of all sports wagers in the UK being placed on football matches. It’s also worth noting that football (or “soccer”) is rapidly growing in the United States, meaning we could easily see an all-time high in terms of engagement.
If Qatar 2022 sports marketing campaigns pay off, and we do smash these previous records, it will only be a sign of what’s to come. Online sports gambling is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup could be what catapults it to the very top.
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “2022 FIFA World Cup – How Sportsbooks Are Marketing the Global Event”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂