The summer months are invariably a busy time for bookmakers in the UK as they seek to launch new products and services and sign exclusive sponsorship deals prior to the start of the football season, which typically kicks off in the first week of August.
While many of its competitors have been metaphorically and, in some cases, literally ‘on the beach’, the team at Coral has been working hard on a couple of things to enhance the experience of its customers in the football year ahead.
First was the reveal of the new ‘Connect’ mobile app, which will complement its ingenious Connect Card that allows punters to bet online and in its shops with a single wallet. And then came the news that it had extended its contract with Middlesbrough FC to be the sole supplier of bet placement services at Riverside Stadium!
Upon its release, Coral’s Connect platform was heralded as a betting industry game-changer – an idea that could revolutionise gambling in the UK and create a much-needed synergy between high-street betting and online betting. It is, strategically, a move designed to introduce traditional ‘paper and pen’ punters to the world of online betting without eliminating the bricks and mortar presence entirely.
The latest industry figures suggest that’s working, with revenue on the high street down but profits online up, and so Connect – along with the merger with Ladbrokes – has been a key driver of Coral’s success in the past year.
The new Connect app will replicate the user experience of the physical card in application form, meaning that customers just need to have their mobile phones about their person rather than fumbling around for their card.
The app also looks set to add value to a punter’s betting activities, with a ‘bet tracker’ feature enabling them to monitor their wagers placed both online and over the counter. The cash-out function is in play, and new Coral customers can take advantage of the myriad bonuses and promotions on offer from the brand.
Live streaming has become an increasingly important feature in the online betting battleground, and the Coral Connect app will boast an abundance of it. Football, tennis and horse racing from the UK and overseas will satisfy the needs of punters, as will a comprehensive selection of in-game stats including possession percentages, shots on target and cards/corners.
The 2016/17 campaign may not have been the best on the pitch for the Teesside club, but off it they have progressed from a commercial perspective, having signed a lucrative deal with Coral to act as their exclusive betting partner.
It’s something of a surprise given the Football Association’s move to clamp down on betting sponsorships in the wake of the Joey Barton scandal, with the FA itself prematurely ending a deal with Ladbrokes. But Coral and Middlesbrough’s link-up got the green light, and it appears to be a relationship that suits both parties down to a tee.
The Boro may have suffered relegation from the Premier League last season, but they have started life in the Championship in encouraging fashion under new manager Garry Monk, with seven points from their first five matches. With home attendances reaching around 25k this term, Coral clearly has plenty of potential customers.
As an extension of its Connect service, fans who place a bet at the Riverside Stadium can collect their winnings at any Coral shop in the UK – so away team supporters can get involved too. Lee Fryett, who is the head of commercial partnerships at Middlesbrough FC, said:
"We are delighted to extend our partnership with Coral. Coral are one of UK’s leading betting and gaming brands and we are excited to be working closely with them to bring their service to our fans on a match day at the Riverside Stadium, as well as a number of exclusive fan offers and promotions throughout the season."
Meanwhile Coral’s director of PR, Simon Clare, commented:
"We are delighted to be forming this exciting partnership with Middlesbrough Football Club as they embark on their mission to return to the Premier League. It promises to be an exciting season ahead for the club and we would like to wish the manager, the players and all the fans the very best of luck."
Checkout Coral sportsbook today to see all the latest features, betting markets and odds on Middlesbrough FC as well as all the other events around the world! New players are given a generous free bet to get them started!