We spoke to Robin Hutchison, Director of sports betting PR agency Square in the Air. He looks back on a memorable year for the firm, and discusses his hopes moving into 2018.
SITA was recently crowned Marketing Agency of the Year at the annual SBC Awards, and Hutchison believes his company were good value for the honour: “We were delighted to win the award and are very grateful to the SBC judges,” he explained.
“It was a great evening and receiving the honour was the culmination of a lot of hard work by everyone at the agency. You’d have to ask the judges as to exactly why we won, but I’d like to think that it’s because of the consistently good job that we do for our clients. We’ve grown very quickly in recent years but we’ve been careful in making sure that we continue to listen to those clients, both on the B2B and B2C side of the business, and understand the challenges they face in promoting themselves, either to operators or the end user.”
Hutchison also talked of the challenges exclusive to the sports betting industry that SITA has faced over the years, and how the industry has developed since the firm’s inception ten years ago: “Sports betting has its own eccentricities that need to be appreciated. When we set up Square in the Air over ten years ago now there were very few agencies who really understood sports betting or gambling in general,” he explains.
“Scratching below the surface, there were even fewer who had any empathy when it came to the supplier side of things. In having that knowledge, and growing it in the intervening years, we’ve been able develop a real niche for ourselves. Others have tried and will continue to do so, but I think one of the reasons we are the go-to-provider in this space is that we really understand how it all works.”
This expertise and deep-seated understanding of the industry has seen SITA rise to become one of the most prominent PR firms in the world of sports betting, and this year saw the company look further afield towards the emerging Asian market.
Most notably, SITA struck up a partnership with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, a deal that Hutchison was particularly proud of: “Being asked to promote such an esteemed organisation as the Hong Kong Jockey Club was a real honour for us and we are thoroughly enjoying working with them,” he claims.
“Our role is to help grow betting into their pools in the UK market rather than promote their business in Asia, but they are obviously a major player out there. We have other clients in Asia and are certainly looking to grow our interests there. Clearly the market isn’t without its challenges when it comes to promotion, but I think our proven track record in jurisdictions around the world will put us in good stead should other businesses be keen to discuss how we might be able to help them.”
Looking towards 2018, Hutchison speak with positivity, talking of further plans for expansion and his excitement for the forthcoming Betting on Football conference: “I’m glad to say that we have a very healthy pipeline when it comes to new business and are currently in conversation with lots of different companies. The great thing about this industry is that it is constantly evolving and with that evolution, be it new markets, products, or services, comes new opportunities,” he explains.
“Betting on Football is going to be the must-attend event in a World Cup year, and I’m intrigued to see how people are going to make the most of this great opportunity on some of the interesting panels that have been lined up.”
SBC’s Betting on Football event is due to be held at Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea Football Club, from March 20-23. You can get all the information about the fifth edition of the largest international sports and football trade conference at this link.