Andreas Koeberl, Twain Sport: Ontario is primed for hybrid sports

A week on from its entry into the Ontario market, and Twain Sport already has big plans to whet the appetite for hybrid sports in Canada – a market that BetGames CEO Andreas Koeberl believes is “thirsty for content innovation”.

Twain Sport, working alongside BetGames to develop its T-Basket and T-Kick products, plans to meet the needs of the sports-savvy Canadian audience with new hybrid sports that have already received positive feedback in Europe. And with 10 partnerships in the pipeline, Koeberl is confident that Twain Sport will be filling a gap in Ontario.

SBC Americas: Congratulations on Twain Sport going live in Ontario! Can you talk us through the opportunity you see here and how you’re looking to bring a unique product to the market?

AK: Thank you! We are really proud to be bringing the world a completely new hybrid version of live sport – and we’re delighted to see the impact it has made since its launch. The market is thirsty for content innovation and we are facing a sports-savvy audience, filling an exact gap in demand we knew was there.

We know exactly where the opportunity lies for us, and we believe that Canadian players are going to love our unique betting proposition. Our extensive research pre-launch identified the key demographics we’ll be serving, and we see an excellent product / market fit in Ontario.

SBCA: Looking at Ontario’s market profile – what are your initial plans for launch, and what kind of players do you feel Twain Sport will resonate the most with? 

AK: We have got big plans with over 10 partners lined up to launch Twain Sport during Q1 and early Q2, which is a good start, particularly as we position our brand as a complementary product to tier-one operators, that can boost overall sportsbook spend.

T-Basket especially is a great product offering super-quick, action-packed content for quieter times of the day or before NBA matches. We are addressing sports bettors and casual players looking for a premium high-frequency live product and we think the fit is just right, especially for the Tik Tok generation who are looking for short-form live sport with a bet every few minutes.

SBCA: Given that Twain Sport is billed as a fast-action live sport, do you see the demand for such content being similar to the demographics you’re delivering to in Europe and Africa already? 

AK: Canadians and North Americans generally love fast sports – think basketball and ice hockey. So, we don’t think it’s unreasonable to possibly see even greater engagement than we have already in Europe and Africa. Basketball is a firmly-established popular betting sport there and, as such, we’re confident about T-Basket’s prospects. After all, it’s all about identifying the preferences and values local audiences resonate with, and then catering to that demand.

This is especially exciting for a provider like us, as we’re carving out an entirely new niche with the thrill of live sport and a betting frequency that can transform sportsbook engagement and revenue.

SBCA: With Twain Sport’s North American debut taking place in Canada, how much do you see this first step as being a platform to move into the US market in the future? 

AK: We will launch with several US-facing operators in Ontario in the coming weeks, so if we see a strong appetite among bettors this will certainly be a serious consideration. Launching a brand in the US requires a significant investment of energy and time, so we want to be sure that there is some serious demand and Ontario is a great market to get a feeling for that. Of course, with T-Basket on the menu, we know we’ve got a sport that US bettors will really enjoy – so it’s all a question of getting it right north of the US border and then establishing our plan of action to move south.

SBCA: Given that Twain Sport is largely based on the other side of the Atlantic, what challenges might you face when it comes to streaming T-Basket and T-Kick to audiences in Ontario? How do you overcome such obstacles?

AK: Given the fact that we are positioning Twain Sport as a complementary product to tier-one sports, we don’t expect that T-Basket, for instance, would replace the NBA from a betting perspective – that would be naïve. Rather it adds player engagement. This is what we’re known for at BetGames, and our speciality lies in being one of the best in the world at complementing live sport and boosting incremental revenue at scale. After all, sport thrives on action, excitement and emotions, whereas betting draws engagement from on-screen action and data. The emotional component of a betting product is tied rather to the thrill of the game, and less to the individual bond with a certain team (or indeed a player).

Thus, we think given our rich statistics, player profiles and super-fast betting and instant settlement mechanics, this concern might be less of an issue from a pure betting perspective. Remember the rise of live table tennis betting or, indeed, the popularity of virtuals during COVID? The importance lies in the positioning – do you want to compete or complement? For us, it’s all about offering the best complementary products on the market and boosting revenue for operators.

SBCA: Last but not least, on the subject of sport – Twain Sport already has basketball via T-Basket and T-Kick’s hybrid take on football, will there be plans for an Ice Hockey version down the line?

AK: The sports roadmap is in the hands of our partner, the Hybrid Sports League, who oversee its creation and management. I think it really depends on how popular T-Basket and T-Kick become, in which global markets. Right now, the league’s priority is to develop and manifest the sports – making sure they’re running perfectly and exciting and entertaining our audiences.

If we see a specific appetite from North America, then that might be a consideration going forward. Just arbitrarily launching live sport after live sport would be to jeopardize the whole project. We both focus on quality over quantity.

To succeed and achieve true greatness in popularity, you need to launch, learn and optimize before you start the next one. In the long run, the league wants to develop a portfolio, but only in the right and proper way. Incremental steps are the way forward – and given we’re creating an entirely new vertical, it’s all about making sure that each move we make is done to fill a gap in the market with the right product proposition.

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