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Sky Bet: Interview with Richard Flint, managing director for Sky Bet

BSkyB-owned online gambling brand Sky Bet was announced as the new title sponsor of the Football League last month in a five-year deal, 2013-14 to 2017-18. Richard Flint discusses how the deal happened and what Sky bet hopes to achieve with its first major sports sponsorship.

How did Sky Bet come to be the new title sponsor of the Football League?

The original introductions were made through Sky Sports, but the deal is completely independent of any Sky Sports discussion. Sky Sports made both sides aware of each other, so they made us aware the Football League was looking for a sponsor and made the Football League aware that we were looking for a way to increase brand awareness.

Why did you choose the Football League?

We saw it as a good opportunity for Sky Bet. We are very UK-focused, fast-growing and we already had a relationship with Championship side Leeds United who are local to our headquarters. We felt the Football League represented a great opportunity to broaden the profile of our brand, in particular outside of Sky Sports households and Sky Sports-only channels.

What are Sky Bet’s main objectives for the partnership?

There are three main objectives:
1. Increase brand recognition
2. Become more front of mind for our existing customers so they spend more with us than our competitors
3. Acquire new customers and drive revenues directly from Football League Interactive websites and mobile apps.

Has Sky Bet done much advertising outside of BSkyB?

We’ve done some online advertising and have spent money outside of Sky, but most of our money was spent on Sky channels or on Sky-owned media. We had considered for some time that we wanted to broaden that out and this seemed like a good opportunity to do that.

Will Sky Bet look for further sports sponsorship opportunities?

We are still looking at sports sponsorships and the most obvious ones are in racing and football because they are the sports which are most heavily bet on. We have some conversations ongoing.

What percentage of Sky Bet’s revenue comes from football?

During the season more than 50 per cent of our revenue comes from football.

Who are Sky Bet’s main competitors?

We are one of the top five online gambling brands in the UK. The others and therefore our major competitors are bet365, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and William Hill.

Who at Sky Bet is responsible for sponsorship decisions?

I was very heavily involved in the Football League deal. Edwin Martin is our head of customer marketing and we have a new marketing director, Rob Painter (formerly marketing director for The Sun newspaper), starting in September.

Will Sky Bet use an agency for its activation?

We will probably need some help but there are no immediate plans to recruit an agency. We will be evaluating our options over the next couple of months.

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