The fixed-cost nature of our industry means that larger operators can operate more efficiently and subsequently invest more money into customer-facing areas such as marketing and product. This becomes a virtuous circle that drives greater revenues, operating leverage and future investment.
Since the Merger we have sought to capitalise on the enhanced scale of the business. We have combined marketing budgets (investing approximately £300m in 2016) and started to share assets across brands, enabling us to acquire, and then efficiently utilise, the most attractive marketing assets. We have a significant presence across Sky Sports, BT Sport and ITV, our Betfair brand recently signed a three-year partnership with FC Barcelona and Sportsbet signed a five-year sponsorship deal with the NRL in Australia.
Scale also carries benefits for product development, with the combined business retaining more capability than either legacy business had on its own. This means we can roll out better products to existing markets and enter more new markets at the same time. Our scale spreads development spend across a larger customer base, driving efficient returns.