After 25 years of daily draws, how would you describe 49’s heritage?
As the longest-running fixed odds lottery product in the world, the 49’s brand is loved and trusted by players and has firmly established itself as a reliable and popular product for operators across the UK and South Africa in particular. It has built a very loyal, active and sociable community, which encompasses a wide demographic. With SIS’s global operator partners we will now look to expand the brand further across the world.
What significance has the time of the draws and the affinity players feel with their favourite presenters played in the continued popularity of the twice-daily draw?
Our presenters embody the brand and they have done a terrific job in generating their own following on social media platforms. The additional level of engagement, which includes presenters posting regular updates and videos on Twitter and Instagram, extends the reach of the 49’s product way beyond the scope of the twice-daily live draws. During our planning for the 49’s refresh, we were acutely aware of the need to maintain the core appeal of the existing product, given its enduring popularity, but there was certainly value in investing in a contemporary refresh to its look and feel. As a result, we have seen a broadening of the appeal of 49’s and an increase in betting engagement.
In 2020, SIS was doubling down on the content output of its esports betting product, SIS Competitive Gaming, so it came as a surprise when SIS decided to acquire 49’s Limited. What was the thinking at the time?
We operated and broadcast the 49’s product from our studios in Manchester and owned the rights to sell it to our partners. Naturally, we gained a deep knowledge of it through this process and felt that we could further drive the 49’s brand and broaden its appeal. 49’s numbers draws represented a good opportunity to further drive our diversification strategy, in providing a broad range of 24/7 engaging live betting events online and into retail, and we saw the potential for 49’s to expand its offer and reach globally, and for that reason the acquisition made sense. We are still committed to the continued development and progress of SIS Competitive Gaming and see 49’s as a perfect, complementary fit alongside our esports and core horse and greyhound racing offering. Our purchase of 49’s is a demonstration of how SIS is continuing to evolve as a leading international betting partner with a broad product portfolio to meet operator needs.
What issues did you identify with 49’s that made a brand refresh and product extensions a priority?
Although 49’s has been hugely popular over the last 25 years, the brand itself hadn’t had much investment so there was a need to refresh it in order to keep the product relevant in the market. The brand has been well-loved over the past quarter-century by a loyal customer base in UK and South Africa, so we didn’t want to alienate the current fans of the product. We decided to refresh the brand rather than rebranding it to give it a more modern look and feel whilst maintaining the core visual elements. The changes have led to more betting engagement, which shows that we have struck the balance between being faithful to the product’s heritage and taking it forward into a new era.
In line with our strategy to grow our business online and internationally, it was important that we had a portfolio of products that met operator needs globally, so we have also extended the product offer to include a new 39’s numbers draw, which features more regular live draws every 15 minutes, and Fast 15’s which offers a live draw every two minutes.
Was the rebrand a case of delicate handling, or did you take the view that the brand needed a wholesale revamp for the 2020s?
It was important to protect the elements that continue to resonate with the core 49’s audience, while also looking at ways to evolve the offering. We set up a 49’s industry group that included representatives from key operators and shared ideas with them, gaining feedback on what they felt would and wouldn’t work. The research conducted with key stakeholders saw us refresh the 49’s visual identity and rename our original twice daily live draw as ‘49’s The Original Draw’. In refreshing the 49’s brand, we were mindful of not alienating our loyal customer base, and therefore we simply repackaged the 49’s brand in a modern, contemporary way.
Compared to when SIS acquired the brand, how is 49’s performing with players and operators?
We have seen strong results for the 49’s brand following the acquisition and the subsequent investment in the brand refresh and product extension. The broader range of numbers betting and virtual racing products have helped increased the profitability of our operator partners, both online and within retail, with bettors responding very positively to the changes we have made.
Has the shifting of 49’s daily schedule with the introduction of a 39’s and Fast 15’s draw been welcomed by longer term players?
The initial feedback we have received has certainly been encouraging. We feel it’s key that these innovative products appeal to a new audience and that is particularly the case with Fast 15’s, which has been carefully designed to appeal to online players accustomed to quick-fire betting opportunities.
Where does 49’s sit within SIS’s numbers products strategy?
Our numbers product strategy at SIS is entirely focused on 49’s. All future products will be released under the 49’s umbrella, which is testament to the brand’s strong recognition and trusted reputation amongst a wide range of operators and players.
Why was it important to create more opportunities to integrate affiliates within the site?
The numbers betting world is very different to that of sports betting and casino. It is important to understand that this is a community like no other in the industry and social media engagement and impressions typically far exceed those generated by other gambling-related content. By integrating affiliates into the website, we have created major opportunities to engage with players who cross over from social channels.
What is the legacy of the 49’s brand?
At 25 years young, 49’s will continue to benefit from SIS investing in the brand to ensure it remains a relevant and profitable product for operators worldwide. While the brand is hugely popular in both the UK and South Africa, we have aspirations to extend its international reach by entering new markets. We believe that the creation of new draws will assist in the geographical expansion of 49’s.
What’s next for 49’s?
In the short-term, we will be rolling out 39’s and Fast 15’s with operators in multiple markets where we expect to see both draws resonate strongly with players. We will continue to work closely with our operator partners to understand their customer needs, and to provide engaging numbers products that continue to drive profitable revenue for them.
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