With hundreds of million enthusiastic football fans worldwide, brands are very eager to become visible in the football world. Brand sponsorships of football teams is a symbiotic partnership that has worked well for many years. The entrance of gambling companies into football sponsorship raised the stakes. It is not uncommon to hear nowadays of a gambling brand sponsoring a football for tens of millions of dollars.
Football teams have the most loyal fans in sports. Even local small-town teams trigger fervent support in their home fans when playing. Brands stand to gain a lot by associating with a football team and building brand loyalty and trust.
A shirt sponsorship will have a football team wearing football shirts decorated with a brand’s logos and trademarks. It is an endorsement of the brand by the team. The team’s message to the team’s fans is that the brand is to be trusted.
The trend for big gambling companies getting into team sponsorships started in the 2000s. The laws had been changed in the UK to allow betting companies to operate more freely. There was a big rush by gambling companies to get more customers. The most direct and effective way was to get into sponsorships with the big EPL teams.
The trend spread to other big football leagues. Nowadays, almost half the teams in major leagues wear logos of big gambling companies and online casinos. It has been a win-win arrangement. Customer numbers for gambling companies have risen, while football teams get much-needed cash for their operations.
For gambling companies and sportsbooks, the hope is that they can convince a team’s fans that this is the right betting platform. It is a way to gain trust. As a fan, you can judge this by looking at how the sponsor treats the team. You can also see what different pundits are saying. For example, read Aldo McNeal’s review of SkyCity Online Casino.
It is not hard to see that gambling companies have much to gain from football sponsorships. A report by Global Betting and Gaming Consultants showed huge revenue growth in the UK. The gross gambling yield for gambling companies operating in the UK grew from £908.5m in 2016 to £1.4bn in 2019.
Big online casinos have started offering sports betting markets. For them, the logic is simple. If you can get football fans to use your betting platform, you can then lure them into making other bets. A football fan making a bet on his favourite team on the weekend will see an attractive promotion on the slots and decide to spin a few times.
Big football teams are some of the most profitable entities in the world. But they also have huge expenditures. Manchester United’s payroll in 2020 is $206 million. There are huge expenses in training, medical, nutrition, logistics, and the transfer market. Man Utd spent $79.7 million in 2020.
These huge costs must be offset somehow. Gate tickets and merchandise sales cannot meet these expenses. It is where sponsorship deals come in. Man Utd received $223 million in sponsorships deals in 2020. The sponsorship is a huge cash inflow for a team.
While the top teams may not need gambling sponsorship that much, smaller teams without expanded revenue streams need it. About half the teams in the EPL have gambling sponsorships. 17 out of 24 English Championship teams depend on shirt sponsorship deals with gambling companies.
Even the top six EPL teams that do not have shirt sponsorship deals have partnered with gambling companies in one way or another. The money is too much to ignore. Shirt sponsorship deals in the EPL will be worth $349 million in the 2020/2021 season.
Apart from gambling companies logos appearing on team shirts, they will also be visible in playing venues.
Gambling companies are also targeting teams in Asia and Africa. These are the fastest-growing betting markets in the world. Big betting companies in these countries will sponsor multiple teams in the same league.
Gambling companies have gone on to sponsor entire leagues in some countries. In Kenya, the national football federation is sponsored by a gambling company. The gambling company gets visibility in all events organized by the federation. League sponsorship is becoming more common outside Europe and the US.
Gambling sponsorships have become essential support for the football world. The importance of this support has been seen in 2020 when gate tickets dried up due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. This win-win arrangement will likely become the dominant form of sponsorship in football for years to come.