i didn't know before a bit of fiddling around today, but have a look at Object > Text Wrap
you basically make an object in front of your text in a group, then select 'make'. oh and invert it in the options.
Just use the big numerals as text boxes and pour text into them.
Be aware thought that text boxes can not be compound paths so you will have to make some special arrangements for 4, 6, 8, 9 and 0.
Either Text Wrap or slice the numerals into smaller abutting text boxes. I suggest that the latter will be easier.
Once you’ve done the job the first time it will be easy to do a repaet with new text.
I think I have figured it out.
1 - text tool - write numbers eg 1 2
2 - create outlines
3 - select first number and then go to Object>Compound Path> Release.
4 - Now select the text "Area Type Tool" and start typing.
Please can someone correct me if I am wrong.