26 January, 2024

Sky Bet exclusive: AccaFreeze customers "can end the game their way"

Gambling Insider speaks with Sky Bet’s Michael Shinners about its new AccaFreeze feature and how it is changing the way players bet on football

Back in September, Sky Bet launched a new feature for its football accumulators called Sky Bet AccaFreeze. The concept of this product was to allow bettors to freeze a leg of their accumulator, so if that leg went onto lose, it would not affect the outcome of the entire acca. For example, in November, if you backed Tottenham to beat Wolves in the Premier League as one of the legs of an acca and froze it after Brennan Johnson gave Spurs a 1-0 lead after three minutes, then despite the fact Wolves went onto score two late goals and win the game, this wouldn’t affect the final outcome of your entire acca; as it was frozen when Tottenham were winning. 

This new feature was launched alongside an advert campaign in collaboration with Grey London. The advert shows an up-and-coming football player putting in the training ahead of a match where he tries to score an equaliser, before he is frozen out of the game by a fan who wants to end the game their way. For many years, Sky Bet has sought to put itself at the forefront of the sports betting arena in the UK. It always seeks to engage its players with new ways of playing, with increased competition from the likes of bet365, William Hill and Paddy Power, among others. With AccaFreeze, Sky Bet has sought to put itself on top of the UK’s congested sports betting market as it seeks to give the fans “control.” 

What was the initial thinking behind Sky Bet AccaFreeze and why it might appeal to the market?

We had different options and ultimately as a business, we decided to launch something new to market and give our customers a really exciting product to enjoy. We know our customers love their accumulators, therefore we felt it important to be innovative and stand out from the market.

How popular has the feature been with players since its launch?

Customers have loved it! There has been great feedback across our social channels and engagement levels have surpassed expectations. We’re happy with where it’s going.

Can you explain how you came up with the ‘End the game your way’ campaign/TV advert?

Our brand team working with our Creative agency, Grey London, developed the campaign tagline. Every customer has felt the thrill and disappointment of that goal that changes the fortune of their accumulator. We wanted to convey the message to customers that they now hold that control in their hand through AccaFreeze – they can end the game their way.

At Sky Bet, we’ll continue to innovate our accumulator and wider sportsbook propositions to give our customers the best possible experience

Is there a business risk of giving too much “control” to the football fan over their accas?

We don’t believe so. The customer experience and their enjoyment of our product is the most important to us at Sky Bet. Customers having control, making proactive decisions in the outcome of their bets, enhances both their experience and enjoyment.

In what ways will AccaFreeze change the way players bet on football?

Gone are the days of waiting until the final whistle to see if you’ve won or lost. First there was cash out and we’ve moved the dial once again, giving customers the chance to end the game their way and control the destiny of their accumulator. It’s an immersive experience as customers seek to use their Freeze in the best way they can throughout the match.

Do you think AccaFreeze will be another template other betting brands will look to use themselves?

We’re sure it will. But we’ve given Sky Bet customers the experience first and we’ll seek to engage as many as we can in the meantime. Innovation and product experiences aren’t things customers forget and we’ll continue to put these things at the centre of our business.

Can you talk us through other features Sky Bet has launched that other brands may have utilised themselves?

We launched RequestABet nearly 10 years ago, which was an industry first and has since been utilised with others across the world. We’re also very proud of our player markets, which we developed with Opta and which are now commonplace in the sector. Much like Sky Bet, Flutter’s stable of brands all have an incredible heritage when it comes to product innovation. We invented what we know here in the UK as ‘Bet Builders’ after Sportsbet and Paddy Power colleagues collaborated on a project several years ago. That product was exported to Sky Bet and other brands around the world to great success, including in the US with FanDuel’s Same Game Parlay. Other brands in our UK and Irish division continue to innovate in their own way too, with Betfair – the pioneer of ‘cash out’ – creating a new 90-minute payout offer for their customers this season that has resonated well.

Do you believe AccaFreeze and your other features give you a truly unique position within the UK sports betting market?

Every brand will feel they have their own unique proposition and what we do at Sky Bet will be different to, say, Betfair’s approach – we’ve both brought new features to the market this season that we’ll benefit from. One of the advantages we have being part of Flutter is that the brands can incorporate these wider innovations into their product offering easily and quickly if they decide to. At Sky Bet, we’ll continue to innovate our accumulator and wider sportsbook propositions to give our customers the best possible experience, giving them no reason to go elsewhere.

In the Magazine