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Ahead of her appearance at iGaming NEXT Valletta this month, LiveScore Group general counsel and board member Rani Wynn discusses the company’s key goals and how it approaches a wide array of challenges, from regulation to diversity and gender equality.

iGN: Can you tell us about the overarching goals and vision that drive LiveScore Group’s operations and its unique approach to shaping the future of the sports betting and media industries? 

LiveScore Group has the unique advantage of combining a trusted, historic media site (LiveScore) with a fresh new eco-system of world-class betting products (LiveScore Bet and Virgin Bet).

The thing that sets us most apart from our competitors is our symbiotic convergence model via which we bring sports closer and more seamlessly to fans, rallying against the backdrop of a fragmented and uneconomical sports and gaming landscape.

We have an overarching vision to be among the leaders in each corner of the sector in which we operate (indeed, one of our core values at LiveScore Group is ‘Ambition’) but in a way that brings ‘more’ to our customers seamlessly.

LiveScore will consistently have the best content on the most reliable service, and equally, our premium betting products will be a cut above, with exceptional offerings such as our award-winning free-to-play games, and for those customers who want to combine all of their interests in these separate areas, we will make it as easy as possible for you to do so.

iGN: What is the biggest challenge LiveScore Group faces to remain at the forefront of the industry and continue innovating its strategy? 

I think the biggest challenge for all operators in this industry will always be regulation – particularly for multi-jurisdictional businesses that need to adhere to various compliance landscapes.

We take our role as a responsible, trusted, and ethical operator extremely seriously.

While adapting to new legal requirements can be challenging in terms of internal resourcing and development, it is a worthwhile and necessary challenge to take up as a commitment to our customers across the globe.

iGN: Tell us about LiveScore Group’s Women in Sport Gaming Employee Resource Group and how it fits into the wider LiveScore Group mission? 

Our LiveScore Group WiSG brings together a team of over 40 women across all areas, offices, and seniority of our business.

With humble aspirations initially of simply reviewing ways that we could make LiveScore Group an even better place for women to work, and a company that promotes diversity and attracts more women candidates, we have now grown into something much more – supporting policy infrastructure, events campaigning, and mentoring junior talent.

LiveScore Group recognises that a company will never achieve its mission without a positive workforce combining towards collective success, and initiatives such as the LSG WiSG do just that. 

iGN: How important are employee resource groups like LiveScore Group’s Women in Sport Gaming ERG when it comes to creating a healthy and prosperous culture?  

In our experience, ERGs are a fantastic way to help foster a great culture (we have three active groups currently).

First, they bring together sub-groups of interested minorities across the business, and then together, the group advocates for those minorities’ interests.

It is a wonderful example of the adage “Stronger Together”.

Sometimes in big organisations, smaller voices can be lost among the sea and ERGs are such a powerful tool to help ensure engagement with a rich diversity of thought.

iGN: What initiatives or programmes has the Women in Sport Gaming ERG implemented, and are there any examples of tangible differences these have made to employees? 

LiveScore Group’s WiSG ERG formed last September, and in the nine short months since inception, we have made real and impactful changes to our business.

Among those examples we’re working with our People team to undertake a full review of all company policies predominantly affecting employees that identify as women, and either suggesting enhancements, improvements, or new policies.

This has resulted in an enhanced maternity package, updated Pregnancy Loss and Menopause policies, and a new Fertility Policy in the approval process.

Separately, we have hosted events and discussions including an incredible panel on International Women’s Day, and most importantly, it’s just a fantastic forum to share ideas, experiences and knowledge.

iGN: Looking ahead, how would you like to see the industry evolve when it comes to diversity and inclusion and how do LiveScore Group’s plans and goals help to advance the industry? 

I think it’s impossible to say that I’d like to see gender balance in the industry reach a 50/50 even keel as I think this is unrealistic and also unnecessary.

We don’t need headcount parity to have a much more inclusive sector, rather, we need to be more welcoming overall, we need to attract candidates with all different life experiences (not just our mates from competitor X) and make sure mothers can return to work after having a baby and be supported to continue their career trajectory to fulfilment.

I truly believe that LiveScore Group is at the forefront of this area of industry modernisation, and I really look forward to where the next few years take us on both the micro and macro levels.

Rani Wynn is general counsel and board member at LiveScore Group. Wynn, an Aussie in London, made the jump from broadcast media to sports and gambling in 2018 when she joined LiveScore Group (then part of Gamesys).

As general counsel, she has shaped a full service legal team to underpin and drive forward the group’s vast commercial and transactional aspirations globally. A fervent promoter of industry diversity, Wynn established LiveScore Group’s women’s resource group in 2022 to tackle workplace gender imbalance.

Ahead of attending iGaming NEXT NYC, LiveScore Group CEO Sam Sadi speaks exclusively about the evolution of sports betting and how the company’s innovative business model is shaping the future of the industry.

iGN: What is LiveScore Group’s mission?

At LiveScore Group we are taking two industries worth approximately £100bn each per year and striving to improve their symbiotic relationship.

Sports betting and sports media are long-term friends, but our strategy is to construct a unique integrated ecosystem that delivers significantly better returns than that of just a betting operator or media company.

Individually, there are several problems which exist within the two respective industries. Looking first at the media side, we are seeing existential threats to traditional business models with “subscription fatigue” and “cord cutting” trends accelerating every year.

Whereas, when it comes to sports betting, the existing unit economics no longer work as well as in days past, in the context of increased regulation and the hugely competitive landscape.

Our innovative business model that converges these two allows us to be disruptive in both sectors.

iGN: Sportsbooks and sports media businesses have been around for decades. Why is it only now that they are being brought together in this way?

You are right, online sports betting has been in existence for over two decades. However, what many fail to realise is the most prosperous sportsbooks owe their success not solely to the superiority of their products or brand, but also to their ability to efficiently and cost-effectively acquire new users.

In pursuit of this goal, sports betting operators formed relationships with sports media businesses, which typically captured the attention of the audience that these operators sought to target.

While this relationship was successful, changes such as increased taxation, stricter regulations, heightened competition, and saturated markets have started to challenge the profitability of this rather inefficient relationship.

“What worked five to 10 years ago is either no longer effective or barely profitable, which means that without change, only the largest operators can remain viable, albeit with much smaller margins.”

Consequently, fewer new users are being created, and operators are having to vie for the same customer pool. What worked five to 10 years ago is either no longer effective or barely profitable, which means that without change, only the largest operators can remain viable, albeit with much smaller margins.

It is clear to see this situation presents a unique opportunity for new operators such as those at LiveScore Group. In our first three years of operation, we have demonstrated that combining these two industries into a single ecosystem provides greater value to the user, who currently relies on transactions with multiple separate businesses for their sports media content and sports betting opportunities.

As we further invest in our ecosystem with better, more relevant content and technological innovations, the value delivered to our users by offering different products seamlessly continues to grow, resulting in increased engagement, better retention, and a larger share of their consumption.

iGN: Have you identified any unique trends in the US market which may come over to Europe?

Since the introduction of regulated online sports betting in the US, we have observed that the fundamentals of success in the US are very similar to UK and other mature regulated markets.

From the importance of efficient and ROI positive marketing, to retention strategies and product innovations around in-play betting and SGPs, the US consumer has shown that their behaviours are quite similar to what we have seen over the years in Europe.

It is rather surprising that many US operators have chosen to ignore the operational knowledge and experiences accumulated in Europe and have executed unsustainable strategies.

This has resulted in an enormous amount of capital wasted, causing the substantial correction we have seen in the capital markets recently.

That said, many US operators have shown their agility and have transformed their focus towards better unit economics and sustainable growth, and I fully expect they will begin start leading on the innovation front soon.

iGN: Within LiveScore Group, you have two fast-growing sportsbooks in LiveScore Bet and Virgin Bet. What have been the challenges faced in creating two top-class sportsbooks?

The primary challenge we face is excelling in both the sports media and sports betting domains as this requires a multifaceted strategy and ultimate team symbiosis between our functions.

We firmly believe providing sports media content and sports betting services from a unified ecosystem will result in considerably higher returns. However, this can only be achieved if every element of the ecosystem outperforms its individual competitors in addition to being delivered in a seamless customer experience.

As LiveScore, we must deliver the fastest score updates, the most relevant news and the most compelling video content, while incorporating a range of features that keep users engaged.

Likewise, with LiveScore Bet and Virgin Bet, we must surpass the leading sportsbooks in the countries where we operate and provide a captivating reason for LiveScore users to shift their sports betting loyalty to us and remain with us.

Building the ecosystem is not the ultimate challenge; it is ensuring each component of the ecosystem exceeds anything currently available in the market.

iGN: LiveScore has made impressive strides in the free-to-air sports broadcasting space, headlined by its UEFA Champions League coverage in Ireland. How important are broadcast rights for a business like LiveScore?

As a company aiming to deliver the best and most relevant sports content to every fan in the world, live broadcast rights must be part of LiveScore’s long-term offering. However, we have to be sure we can make this model work before we can expand in this area and we will do It very selectively.

Over the last two decades, we have seen pay TV operators with satellite-based distribution dominate the live sports broadcast space. Through sales of high margin bundles, these operators have been able to deliver ever-increasing fees to rightsholders.

However, this business model is now facing an existential threat with more economic OTT distribution models and customers no longer willing to pay for bloated content bundles. The proliferation of piracy is unfortunately also adding to this threat.

“For a long time, I have wanted to consume sports content and participate in sports betting without the hassle of managing multiple subscriptions or browsing an endless number of apps and websites.”

It is clear that there is a need in the industry for alternative business models. Companies like Amazon and Apple have entered the market, attempting to leverage live sports content to seal their own “bundles” like Apple TV+ or Prime subscriptions.

However, we strongly believe our offering is more sustainable and can compete against these companies. With our business model, we are striving to deliver content for free to a much larger audience, which in the long run will generate more value for rights holders, teams, athletes and of course more loyalty from the fans.

The most desirable rights are extremely costly, often reaching billions of pounds. While we are not there yet to compete globally in this space, we have shown the impact of our business model in Ireland by becoming the only UEFA Champions League broadcaster in the world to show every game live and free to air.

iGN: What most excites you about where the industry is right now?

As an avid sports fan, I watch every live game on television and spend hours consuming all forms of sports content. What motivates me is the opportunity to offer solutions to the issues I have faced for many years as a sports enthusiast.

For a long time, I have wanted to consume sports content and participate in sports betting without the hassle of managing multiple subscriptions or browsing an endless number of apps and websites.

I firmly believe that there are millions of people who share the same sentiment and are dissatisfied with the current state of fragmented sports content delivery.

Working on a solution to this at LiveScore Group and increasing both the global popularity and consumption of sports brings me immense satisfaction.

If you’re interested in exploring investment or partnership opportunities with LiveScore Group, please contact livescore@matchfit.biz to arrange a meeting with Sam in NYC between March 7-9th.

LiveScore Group is set to accelerate its global expansion plan after benefitting from a £50m strategic investment from Swiss media and technology firm Ringier AG.

Ringier’s investment in LiveScore values the business at £500m, and is intended to fuel the expansion of its LiveScore, LiveScore Bet and Virgin Bet brands.

LiveScore Group was founded in 2019 by Gamesys co-founder Noel Hayden and is led by industry veteran Sam Sadi.

The original LiveScore product is a sports update and streaming service boasting millions of users across more than 200 territories globally and an incredibly successful gambling affiliate as a result. 

LiveScore Bet is the brand’s associated B2C sportsbook, currently available to customers in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, which uses existing user relationships with LiveScore to convert sports fans into bettors.

Ringier, a Swiss media and technology group of more than 130 companies, operates several media brands, digital platforms and marketplaces.

Its recently created Ringier Sports Media Group division is home to a portfolio of forward-thinking businesses looking to change the way global audiences interact and engage with sport.

LiveScore Group CEO Sam Sadi: “Ringier, with its Sports Media Group, is the perfect partner as we look to accelerate our expansion into Central and Eastern European territories, given their outstanding expertise, assets and relationships.” 

Its strategic investment in LiveScore is intended specifically to accelerate the brand’s growth across key Central and Eastern European territories, the firms said.

Following the investment, senior partner of the Ringier Sports Media Group, Stilian Shishkov, will also join the supervisory board of LiveScore Group.

“Ringier, with its Sports Media Group, is the perfect partner as we look to accelerate our expansion into Central and Eastern European territories, given their outstanding expertise, assets and relationships,” said Sam Sadi, CEO of LiveScore Group.

Noel Hayden, executive chairman of the LiveScore Group board, added: “I’m excited to see two of the most innovative sport and media businesses form a game-changing new relationship. 

“This is a breakthrough moment which will allow LiveScore Group to maximise strategic opportunities together with Ringier, and to deliver better experiences and value for sports fans around the world.”

Ringier’s CEO Marc Walder added that together the businesses aim to enhance and increase the enjoyment of sport through innovative products and immersive experiences. 

“With LiveScore Group’s support we will better understand the way people feel about sport and what it means to them. Our vision is to fuel the fans’ passion for sport,” Walder concluded.

LiveScore counts Manchester United and Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo as a global brand ambassador.