Cricket betting to rise from the Ashes thanks to Sportradar – part two
Part two of our chat with Sportradar’s Head of Premium Cricket Services (PCS), Charlie Bruce explores what the PCS team will be doing during the Ashes, what makes cricket different to faster-paced sports where data and odds solutions are provided and why, therefore, Sportradar’s full service cricket package is so unique.
What will Sportradar’s PCS team be doing during the Ashes?
Charlie Bruce (CB): The Ashes is, obviously, from a cricket lover point of view, a real highlight on the calendar. From our point of view, these games, like every game in our offering, will receive the full Premium Cricket Service (PCS) and attention.
Before every game, we have pre-match prices out there – so there’ll be two or three hundred different markets. For example, you can bet on how many fours Joe Root is going to get, how many sixes Australia might hit, everything you can think of basically. Over the years, we’ve quite enjoyed developing new markets and building models for the most random things you can imagine.
When the toss happens half an hour before play, we’ll suspend all those markets and, 30 seconds later, we’ll be back with all our line markets. Again, there’ll be two or three hundred live markets and you can bet on anything, for every single ball. Will it be a boundary? Will it be a dot ball? How many runs will a certain player get? Will they get a 50 or 75 or 100 or 150? How many runs will there be in the next five overs? Ten overs? 15 overs? How many runs will the team get? Who will win the match? This is live throughout every single ball of the series.
We’ve got a number of companies who are using the Ashes as a launch for their new products, which we’re really excited about, so it will be a great marquee event for us in that we can showcase our skills.
How does cricket differ from the other sports that Sportradar covers?
CB: Cricket is such an idiosyncratic sport. There’s so many oddities that make it a real challenge.
For a start, in terms of data, if you’re trying to automate processes – which Sportradar do so well with tennis and football and many other sports like that – it’s so much harder to automate cricket because some matches are three hours long, some matches are five days long, sometimes it rains, sometimes they go off because of a bee storm or a dog on the field, or any other crazy thing like that. Sometimes you’ll be sitting around watching a batsman score a particular milestone and so the rest of the game seems to stop.
It is a challenging sport that, for people who aren’t lovers of the game, and haven’t watched it all their lives, it must seem pretty inaccessible. So that immediately cuts out a lot of people in the world, in regards to those that would be trying to model sports that would be trying to get underneath the skin of the sport from a stats point of view – a lot of these guys can’t access the sport at all. That’s why, in the betting world, cricket is behind, or was behind, other sports.
The nature of cricket is that you bowl a ball, and then you wait 40 seconds, and then you bowl another ball. So, each 40 or so second gap you may have people who are both really knowledgeable about the game and understand the numbers, able to collect their thoughts, pause and think about what’s going on, all before they make their bet. Now this is a completely different scenario from someone simply watching a fast-paced game and betting quickly on the potential next goal scorer, for example.
So, for all these reasons, cricket and betting has been an incredibly challenging path for decades. This is why bookmakers haven’t really developed cricket products, and why companies like Sportradar never really had a reason to invest money in cricket.
What’s changing now is that you’ve got interest in the Indian market, and the new growth elsewhere in the world because of Twenty20 cricket. You’ve also got, I’d like to say, for the first time, a company like Sportradar who actually has invested the time and the effort and can develop models and develop a system to be able to crack this incredibly impenetrable sport. That’s why we’re picking up the interest that we are; because whilst cricket is slow, and it is odd, we’ve finally found a way of managing it for various clients.
Stay tuned next week for our third and final part of our chat series with Charlie about how knowledge, accuracy and passion sets the foundation for Sportradar’s comprehensive cricket product and how this could see the offering expand across the company’s functions into the virtual, gaming and media spaces.
For more information on Sportradar’s cricket betting products and services visit https://www.betradar.com/betting-solutions/premium-cricket/ or to inquire contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org