bwin, Entain’s European sportsbook brand, is ready to ignite football passion once again in 2024, bringing the ultimate football experience to the grand stage of Europe. As the first sports betting partner of the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Europa Conference League, this exclusive partnership means bwin can onceagain take the fan experience to new heights with the bwin Fans Final.

To celebrate the application launch, we spoke to Entain’s Head of Sponsorship, Gemma Bell, about the experience that turns dreams into reality for bwin’s customers.

Q1: What inspired the creation of the bwin Fans Final, and how does it align with bwin's dedication to football and its passionate fanbase?  

The bwin Fans Final goes all the way back to our commitment to bridging the gap between brand and fan. Back in 2021, bwin became the first official sports betting partner of the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League, paving the way for bwin to connect with football fans on a much deeper level than ever before.

bwin’s idea for the Fans Final was initially developed from the brand’s ‘This is our Game’ slogan. It aimed to meet two main objectives: first, to reach our target audience with non-betting, exclusive football content, and second, to provide a real-life experience where the winners get to experience, firsthand, what bwin stands for. The bwin Fans Final experience is the epitome of excitement for football fans.

Q2: What makes the bwin Fans Final the ultimate football experience, giving fans an adrenaline-packed front-row seat to the action?

The bwin Fans Final is a dream come true for football enthusiasts: experiencing what it’s like to be a professional footballer, playing on one of the most iconic stages in world football. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity for fans to step on to the hallowed turf of some of Europe’s most iconic stadiums. Over the past two years, 40 lucky bwin customers have been given the opportunity to embark on a captivating three-day journey surrounding the UEFA Europa League Final, culminating in the extraordinary experience of playing alongside two professional sporting legends.

The unique components of the bwin Fans Final consist of an all-inclusive trip to the location of the UEFA Europa League Final city, including transport by train or flight from their home city, luxury hotel accommodation, and tickets to watch two titans of European football battle it out at the UEFA Europa League Final. The experience culminates with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for football fans across Europe to play their own final in the very same stadium, the following day.

Q3: What's in store for this year's Fans Final, and how will bwin elevate the excitement following the success of the previous season?

This year, we’re taking the bwin Fans Final to a whole new level. Based in the iconic Dublin Arena in Ireland, the 2024 campaign will see more of Entain’s consumer brands brought into the fun of activating the three-day experience for customers. Our very own Ladbrokes team will be hosting an exciting pre-match and watch along party at a venue close to the Dublin Arena, with live entertainment, local football legend appearances and the chance to will exclusive prizes. We’ve also got some more incredible ambassadors this year: fans will be coached by, and play with, two footballing legends, making it a true money-can’t-buy experience.

We’re also committed to connecting with, and supporting the development of, grassroots sports. Entain is inviting UK champions as part of the Pitching In Volunteer Hub initiative to win a chance of being crowned ‘Volunteer of the Season’ and secure a spot on the pitch. We’re excited to add this extra layer of excitement to the bwin Fans Final this year and to bring the worlds of top-level football and grassroots sports together.

Q4: Diving into the Pitching In ‘Volunteer of the Season’ prize - how does this tie into Entain’s commitment to sustainability?

Entain launched Pitching In to support and develop grassroots football in the UK, helping non-league clubs improve their facilities and providing a platform for aspiring athletes to chase their dreams. The multi-million-pound, multi-year investment programme is working with Isthmian, Northern Premier and Southern League clubs (known as the Trident Leagues) to champion their achievements and tell their stories.

When we realised that we could bring Entain’s Pitching In initiative and the bwin Fans Final together, we were incredibly excited. This year we’ll be giving three lucky Pitching In volunteers the opportunity to be a part of the three-day experience and play in the bwin Fans Final. It’s a moment to celebrate and give back to the very people who have contributed towards helping their local football communities thrive.

Q5: How has the partnership with UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League amped up customer engagement, sparking organic growth for bwin across the continent?

The collaboration between UEFA and Entain has fuelled massive organic growth for bwin, underpinned by an unbreakable bond between the brand and football enthusiasts across the continent. Right now, the bwin brand has the highest association with the UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League in four out of six core bwin markets, and those associating are 15% more likely to consider playing with bwin.

Besides bringing pure entertainment and joy to the football fans and uniting players from across Europe, our brands were able to generate unrivalled brand presence across the continent during the 21/22 and 22/23 seasons. The 21/22 UEFA Europa League and UEFA Europa Conference League generated over 1.2 billion in exposure through TV & digital, and the 22/23 season saw branding visible at 80% of all matches across 56 countries: 20% of this being Responsible Gambling messaging. So far this season, we’re up 8% on this visibility already and have reached 112 million live TV viewers across 24 markets.

Q6: Beyond the numbers, what untold stories make the bwin Fans Final a success that resonates with fans on a deeper level?

There’s probably no better way to sum up what the bwin Fans Final means to customers than this amazing quote we received from one of last year’s players:

“I've actually experienced a lot with football, but what you've achieved can't be topped. From the organisation of the flights, and from the accommodation, meals, and the time around the bwin Fans Final (visit to the restaurant and in the stadium) to the highlight for me as a fan, the visit to the Europa League Final, it was perfect all around.  

“When I applied for the competition, I wrote that I associated football (and my time in the student league) with friendship, community, and diversity. This was 99% lived out over the three days. We had so much fun making new friends across Europe through our passion for football (playing, watching, and betting). Nice conversations in the restaurant, at the hotel bar, at breakfast, on the bus or in the stadiums have once again impressively shown that football has a unifying element at all times. Thank you for that!” 

Fans can apply via