SOURCE: AXcess News

AXcess News

October 30, 2009 18:38 ET

AXcess News: Breeders Cup a Sure Bet for Online Advertising Agency

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 30, 2009) - For the first time in history, millions of European sports betting enthusiasts will be able to place wagers on next week's 2009 Breeders Cup race in Santa Anita through TVG, a subsidiary of Betfair, which will televise the race. But the big winner may be Play LA, Inc. (OTCBB: PLLAF), which will be Betfair's primary online advertising partner.

Betfair bought the Television Games Network (TVG) for $50 million in cash in January from Macrovision, which acquired TVG's former parent, Gemstar-TV Guide, in 2008. TVG holds the largest market share among national account-wagering companies. Combining that power with Betfair's beefy EU reach as the largest online sports betting operator is estimated to generate millions in wagers off of the 2009 Breeders Cup.

Betfair recently signed a deal with a host of American tracks, permitting the Company to offer commingled pari-mutuel wagering to its exchange betting customers and paying a fee to tracks from Betfair revenue on exchange betting. This morning, Play LA announced that it would be the "primary advertising partner for the 2009 Breeders Cup" coverage published on their UK flagship website, www.bettingchoice.co.uk.

Play LA is the largest sports betting online advertising agency in Europe and recently entered the United States when it listed its shares to trade on the Bulletin Board Exchange. The Company said in a press release Friday that it would be advertising online for not only the 2009 Breeders Cup, but the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes next year as well.

Play LA's online advertising business focuses on UK and European markets only, due to the U.S. prohibition of online betting, but the fact that Play LA is also a publisher of sports content could open new channels of opportunity in the lucrative U.S. gaming market. As no other online advertising agency in North America specializes in sports, the Company is drawing the attention of U.S. casino operators which to date, have no one online ad resource that understands their industry. Should Play LA enter the marketplace it could be a one horse race to the finish.

In the UK alone, internet advertising has overtaken television advertising to become the UK's single biggest advertising medium, according to IAB. IAB said that the Internet now accounts for 23.5% of the UK total market. Reuters' Kevin Flynn said in an Oct. 5 story that UK football was "following advertising online."

"The Internet-only broadcast of England's game in Ukraine is just the start of a trend given the migration of viewers online and the advertising and sponsorship money chasing them," wrote Flynn.

David Hallonquist, Play LA CEO, said, "The Betfair/Tracknet deal is a sign of where the industry is heading."

Hallonquist told AXcess News in a telephone interview that Play LA expects to "step into the black" sometime in the fourth quarter, though he would not release details. When asked about the online advertiser's plans in the United States, Hallonquist said he "could not comment," though in regards to how PLLAF will benefit from the Betfair deal, he repeated an earlier statement saying, "It's an opportunity that's too big for us to pass up."

While casinos in the U.S. don't advertise online gambling, they drop millions luring vacationers and conventioneers into their hotels, knowing many will drop into the casinos and try their luck at the slot machines and table games. Sports in general from major league baseball to college football draws millions into local communities and at the heart of it stands Play LA with its knowledge of catering to an online sports crowd. Sort of like the only hamburger stand in a town full of beef lovers, it's gotta be a place you couldn't overlook. But the big attraction may be Play LA's ability to tap into the European market, a bonus for U.S. online advertisers looking to reach foreign sports enthusiasts. So Hallonquist may be on the right track in saying it's a "big opportunity."

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