Rick Wolf, Spotlight: Scratching the surface of untapped US potential

Spotlight Sports Group (SSG) aims to put the power of development in the hands of sports analysts with its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product.

Those were the thoughts of Rick Wolf, SVP, US B2B Partnerships at SSG, who joined SBC Media’s Business Journalist, Viktor Kayed, to explore more of the firm’s product and how it can be integrated. 

On Spotlight’s SaaS offering, Wolf noted that what ‘clogs up’ business at present is the inability for firms to get through a development queue that is ‘always crowded’. 

He commented: “After years of providing services to NBC Sports and Sports Illustrated, FTN Network and now Fantasy Life, we learned quickly that the number of changes that they would need to make to a platform that would fill up our development queue would be a lot so we bega to innovate and create admin tools. 

“Then in the last 13 months or so, we turned all of those different admin tool types into software as a service so we can do event hubs services builds so when we build up FTN Daily that is built by our software and by them using that software in order to build it, you can see that from the designs of those four properties, they’re all different.”

Alongside the sporting aspect to its SaaS product, Wolf highlighted that it also offers a games engine, which is said to allow operators to ‘create as many games as they want’ utilising the games tool once set up. 

“The groundbreaking one was for our affiliate Management Systems,” Wolf claimed.

“We’re now up on 16 sites with software that does Geo targeting and figures out exactly what the best offers are to put in front of you for sports betting, fantasy sports and horse racing, and soon to be added apparel tickers, lottery etc.”

Delving into how pivotal SaaS tech is when it comes to user engagement, Wolf stressed that one of the biggest problems at the moment is speed to market and the impact it could have overall. 

He added: “What happens is people invent an idea then they have to put in their dev queue for six months and then they still have to love it six months later when things can change drastically in the marketplace.

“What this does is it allows you to go from idea to execution in sometimes a single day or less, especially with the games you can literally prop them up in an hour. All you need is a graphic and time frame you want to pick them to be in. 

“It allows you to be able to ideate as a sports producer instead of as a developer. Get developers out of your way and make sure that the sports analyst and the site producers are all making the decisions for themselves and creating these things on the fly.” 

Following on his point, Wolf explained that ‘with experience comes speed’ and highlighted two areas that firms need to utilise when implementing software-as-a-service into its product. 

“You want to make sure that it connects for your users, so you want to make sure you have authentication linked up and connected and you want to make sure that your user base is secure,” Wolf emphasised. 

“Then you want to make sure it matches your look and feel 100%. It has to look like a seamless operation. Those are the critical components and I think we handle them better than anybody where we can do a set up in less than a week.”

Looking into the future of the US sports betting market and how it will develop moving forward, Wolf claimed he was ‘optimistic’ and that Spotlight Sports’ SaaS product can ‘make a big difference’ to its overall growth. 

He concluded: “One more really critical point is that only 60 million people are betting on sports right now. That means that in regulated states that exist, there are 200 million adults who are not betting on sports. 

“So we have a huge market growth there that’s over x3 as many people who are available in the market than we are actually using it. 

“Furthermore, 54% of those people said that they were big and avid sports fans, so now we know that there’s more than 100 million people out there that can grow this market in the US. So we’re stratching the surface right now and that doesn’t include California, Texas and other states that haven’t flipped yet.”