Angry Birds, Tinder, Betway – sounds like a list of apps on your iPhone; when these are just in fact some of the latest shirt sponsors in Football.
As a Liverpool fan – I grew up seeing Crown Paints, Candy & Carlsberg on LFC kits – there were no such thing as shirt sponsors, and there were barely any betting or casino ads in or around the ground. Barcelona went years without a shirt sponsor before adding UNICEF to their shirts, while today, most teams have an official ‘betting partner’, while betting & casino companies dominate the world of football sponsorship.
Crystal Palace, Everton, West Ham, Newcastle, Swansea, Stoke, and Huddersfield all have betting, casino or igaming brands on their shirts; as these companies look to take advantage of the huge global reach that English football has.
It’s essentially a win-win for clubs and sponsors – the clubs get a bit more money added to their transfer or wage budget, while the casinos/betting companies get exposure like never before – it is estimated that each televised game is watched by 12million people globally, while if you’re a team’s main shirt sponsor, there’s literally thousands of walking adverts at every match. Man Utd’s main sponsor Chevrolet pay £47million every year, and with their reach it’s surprising that there isn’t a casino brand on their shirts already.
Back in 2002 – only one Premiership side had any sort of betting sponsorship on their kit (Fulham partnered with Betfair), while now 45% of teams have a casino or betting sponsor on their kit. Everton’s deal with SportsPesa is estimated to be worth £48million over 5 years – with most clubs now doing transfer deals in instalments, that can pay for a big name signing (Sigurdsson cost Everton £45million from Swansea), so why not put an igaming or casino brand on your shirt?
In a somewhat surprising turn, Wolves are now sponsored by a Cryptocurrency exchange, is this where sponsorship is heading? Given that the FA broke ties with Ladbrokes following criticism of their FA Cup Sponsorship, could we see a ban in future on casino/igaming companies sponsoring football teams, and instead new industries like Crypto taking over?
Gone are the days when fridge freezer manufacturers sponsored football.