Last year, the Supreme Court finally lifted a ban on sports betting- and you can bet money on this decision having made a lot of firms very, very happy. From professional sports leagues, fantasy sports websites, casinos and racetracks, sports lovers and betters alike are now able to enjoy a pastime as old as time immemorial.

In the year since, sports betting companies, then, have begun to race to leverage assets, create partnerships and cook up marketing strategies that will put their brands front and centre during the entrant rush now that the floodgates have opened. The smart firms, however, will consider approaches that put them ahead of the competition: public relations, and strategic marketing to boost engagement with their newfound- and ever-burgeoning- audiences.

This year is the year for companies to truly set themselves apart from competitors, lock down new customers, and establish a loyal sports betting customer base. Still, in the face of persistent attempts from government, businesses and public interest groups to discredit the industry and curb its promising growth, sports betting firms will need to be clever in their bids to win the public over. Here are three ways to get ahead:

Event Marketing

Sports betting brands should exhibit at relevant events that draw sports fans or attendees with like-minded demographics. Think beer festivals, or golf shows.

Activation booths should incorporate punchy consumer promotions that encourage app downloads, or wagers. For casinos looking to drive traffic to their properties, they can use something called a “bounce back” coupon that involves a special, time-locked offer.

With the right tracking method, conversions per event is easily calculable. Ensure staff at booths are experience brand ambassadors capable of engaging with attendees, and incentivised to achieve results, and you’re up and away!

Bar Promotions

Placing a wager on your favorite sports team while at your local sports bar is a real no-brainer. Sports betting companies should create marketing partnerships with sports bars to engage audiences that are already sold on watching their teams compete.

Introduce a branded table, swag, and brand ambassadors within the bar, offering patrons a gift card or free branded swag should they place a wager or download the app.  Bars can also create a themed night around sports betting, designed to entice new customers while leveraging the power of the sports betting product. Now that’s a captive audience!

Sports Sponsorships

For those sports betting companies with deeper wallets, becoming the sponsor of a professional sports team is an ideal strategy. Within a specific financial commitment typically comes the opportunity to conduct on-site, or “fan zone”, activations.

Fans already pumped up by the live experience can be further drawn into a compelling promotion, especially one that ties sports betting with their favorite sports team. A promotion calling on fans to place wagers in exchange for team jerseys is sure to drive conversions. As always, make sure to utilize brand ambassadors who are capable of working busy stadiums filled with tens of thousands of hyped-up fans!

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.