Today we are joined by Russ Yershon of Connecting Brands. His team is located in London, UK and have been helping companies with their sports betting efforts for awhile. He’s now looking to take that experience and share it with United States companies as they start down the same path.
Ryan Knuppel: 00:00 All right, today we’re joined by Russ, Yershon. Russ, how are you today?
Russ Yershon: 00:05 I’m very good, Ryan. How are you doing?
Ryan Knuppel: 00:07 Hey, I’m doing great. Hey, Russ is with Connecting Brands. We met at this Betting on Sports Conference in New Jersey, a few months, or actually it was only a few weeks back and Russ and I really connected, and I thought, hey, who better to have on the show and talk about what he does in this industry and what Connecting Brands is than Russ. Hey, I really appreciate you joining me and this should be a lot of fun.
Russ Yershon: 00:31 Yeah, absolutely, likewise, great to meet you in New Jersey. Again, I totally agree, we connected well and have a lot in common in regards to the sports industry.
Ryan Knuppel: 00:41 Awesome. So, tell me a little bit about… You’re telling our listeners a little bit about what Connecting Brands is, what you guys do.
Russ Yershon: 00:48 Brilliant. Hi, listeners. Yeah, Connecting Brands, we’re primarily a sports book and gaming marketing agency. So, we offer sports book and marketing services currently to UK and European books. We advise them on media and marketing partnerships and sponsorships and help them with their acquisition, retention, and reactivation digitally.
Russ Yershon: 01:09 Obviously now in 21st century, a lot of UK and European books have mobile fast websites and again we help get them over the line with really driving… seen some good turnover. I deliver them good custom. In regards to the partnerships and sponsorships that we work with the books on in UK and Europe obviously football is key for a lot sports books, and we deliver some partnerships in that space and also a key thing we’ve been doing this season in the Premier League is help activating them for brands.
Ryan Knuppel: 01:43 That’s awesome. So, you’re already doing this in the UK, you guys are established, doing it well there, and so, I’m guessing here but I’m guessing you guys come over to this Betting on Sports United States conference, and you’re looking to connect with some of these up and coming US sports books, and some of the businesses here to see how you guys can help. Because you’ve already proven what you can do in a different market, explain to me what your goals are for the United States in terms of working with people here.
Russ Yershon: 02:13 Sure. Ryan, you’re absolutely spot on. For us obviously, myself especially, working in a fully regulated market for 10 plus years and seeing obviously the retail estates moving to telephone betting and then into desktop and online betting. Again, the experience that we’ve got, we want to work with US books obviously in regulated markets and regulated states and obviously states that will become legalized soon and work with them on their digital plans, how to launch sports books, how to drive custom. Because it’s a totally new ball game in the US and we feel with the experience that we’ve got across UK and Europe, we can definitely helps books, the CMOs, and the directors of these sports books and really help them along the way with educating the US base on, again, how to gamble.
Russ Yershon: 03:11 Because obviously it’s been illegal up to now and we think we can help educate on the digital side again how to sign up for an account, what the odds mean, how the promote the odds, how to engage and give great content.
Ryan Knuppel: 03:28 Yeah, that’s really cool and that’s what I liked about that conference in New Jersey that we spoke of. I thought there was quite a bit of buzz around it which was neat for a US person like myself to see because the buzz hasn’t really been there over the past few years or passed decades since I’ve been involved in all of this as well. So, just to see all the interest was awesome and then to see the companies like yourself, and the people like yourself coming over from established markets already, ready to help and ready to talk to a lot of the US clients about this was really neat. What did you like…
Ryan Knuppel: 04:01 So, let’s shift gears here for one second, so the conference. Let’s talk about the conference in general. You’ve probably been to other conferences and maybe in other markets, things like that, this was really my first experience with the Sports Betting Conference and I was blown away. I was amazed with how well it was run, with the energy everywhere. What were your thoughts about the conference maybe in comparison to others you’ve seen?
Russ Yershon: 04:24 You’re absolutely right and at this point the team of SBC, Rasmus, and Andy and the team they brought across from London. They’ve been having these conferences for many years and they’ve learned a lot of things as how to make these conferences great. How to give great panels, how to have great moderators, how to have great delegates and get all the key industry people there in one room across a couple of days. And also networking as well to enable some great networking opportunities. So, the guys at SBC have run great conferences in the UK and I think delivering their first major one here, I think everyone says it was a great success. The delegates really interact with each other.
Russ Yershon: 05:08 It was very laid back and everyone could chat and engage with each other in again a very loose way. Again, it wasn’t pressurized and it’s just a fantastic conference. Again, I met a lot of great people and again I know from a lot of people that exhibited at the conference that they also met again a lot of US colleagues as well because ultimately with many guys coming over from the UK. The UK, US again is a massive bond anywhere, even before you talk about the industry. So, I think now the industry is coming into fruition now with obviously more legislated states. I think it’s prone to grow.
Ryan Knuppel: 05:56 Yeah, absolutely and for any of you that did not hear the interview with Rasmus, that was I think episode 49 of this show. It was unbelievable just to talk to him and hear from his perspective how it went. But Russ, here right on everybody that I have talked to that was at the conference said it was amazing for them and really neat, so it’s going to be fun to see where this industry grows. Any fun predictions on the United States? Anything you’re … states that you think are coming on board? Where do you think we’re going? You think it’s going to be a quick transition for these states? You think this is going to be a very long drawn out process?
Russ Yershon: 06:34 I think it may well be long and drawn out. It’s just the momentum of each state. The quicker they can become regulated and obviously they can individually legalize sports betting. I think it will take a while. It would take one or two states at a time. Obviously, Nevada and New Jersey now, they’ve been fully licensed for a while now. New Jersey seeing some great figures. I think a lot of states will want to enter that market quite quickly if they can because I think it can help with taxes and again for the big casinos to offer sports book as well as the core casino product they do, I think it could be great. It does bring people together and I think what could escalate here is the fact that the NFL, again they’re open to sports betting. I they’ve obviously signed a deal with Caesars, if I’m correct on the Casino side.
Russ Yershon: 07:35 I think MLB are a bit hesitant but the NBA again I think they’re open to collaboration with sports books and different teams. So, I think if the main key leagues are open to it, I think the states will… I think the individual states that aren’t regulated and legalized will move quicker as well.
Ryan Knuppel: 07:58 Awesome, awesome. So, what’s in your future? I don’t want to keep you all day. I can talk to you all day by the way but for the sake the time here, we’ll move on, but what’s in your future? What is your company plans? You have any big plans coming up here that you want to share with people?
Russ Yershon: 08:16 Shawn, I hear the UK which is obviously the core market for us, we’re looking to consult on a date and deliver more partnerships and more activation because again it’s either we do for a while with the Karl especially, one of the leading bookmarkers in the UK. And in future it will great to move into the states and really help educate the casinos that are going to run sports books. We want to be an extension of their brand and be able to help them launch and obviously be successful because the market is definitely there for sports betting again.
Russ Yershon: 08:57 The huge amount broadcast views on the core sports team, the NFL, the NHL, the NBA, the MLB, the US are sport mad and again for them to be legally able to have a sports bet, put their money where their mouth is and again with ESPN, CBS, NBC doing a phenomenal job previewing and having great live broadcast from all the stadium, again this only adds to the enjoyment. Again, one thing that again we work is bet responsibly, bet within your means, that’s the number one, paramount to everything we do. And again, as the US opens again that will be key advice as well for the books as well.
Russ Yershon: 09:42 You need to stay with compliant, but there’s definitely a market and customers can engage and have fun.
Ryan Knuppel: 09:49 Awesome. You sound like a wealth analyst and I’m sure you guys do a great job. So, any of you listeners that are jumping into this space, may need a little experience, a little help from somebody with experience in this market, and really has proven it. I really urge you to reach out to Russ, just chat with him, talk to him, see how they can help in any way. Russ, any last words and then make sure … how can the listeners get a hold of you? What would be the best way of getting a hold of you to talk in the future?
Russ Yershon: 10:17 Sure. We’re on Skype @Russ.Yershon, that’s R-U-S-S.Y-E-R-S-H-ON. And you can reach us via email at [email protected] On Twitter we are @Russyersh and then the website we have is connectingbrands.co.uk, so that’s C-O-N-N-E-C-T-I-N-G B-R-A-N-D-S.co.uk.
Ryan Knuppel: 10:48 Awesome. Well, sounds like we find you about anywhere, so that’s good. Connecting brands, Russ Yershon. I really appreciate you joining me Russ. It’s going to be a while right here over the next few years in the US, so I’m sure this won’t be the last time we talk, so anything… Any last words you have before we jump off here?
Russ Yershon: 11:05 Ryan, it’s just a big thanks to yourself for having me on the show and the listeners I hope you have enjoyed what again I have to say and it will be great. Any questions that you have, please fire them across, either via Ryan or the details I have given. It’ll be great to chat with you because I’m a passionate sports fan as well worked in the industry so it will be good to engage with you all.
Ryan Knuppel: 11:26 Awesome, well I appreciate it, Russ. I’ll let you go. Hopefully we can talk again and maybe in a few years we’ll have you on and the United States will full and blooming and everybody will be betting on sports and we we’ll have a follow up conversation. So, I do appreciate it, thanks again for joining.
Russ Yershon: 11:42 Brilliant. Thank you, Ryan.
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