Sponsorships and sports clubs have always been a great combo. Sponsors donate money to clubs to help them stay in the game, quite literally. With sponsorship money, clubs get to pay their bills, sign new players, and invest in their future. Naturally, the sponsors get something out of it. They promote their brands and often get a nice tax deduction.
With the rise of online and offline betting, bookmakers have also started sponsoring clubs. And, per some experts and groups, things have been getting out of control. According to some new casino marketing statistics, 60% of consumers see betting and gambling ads and sponsorship once a week. And that’s the minimum. Often, they are exposed to gambling-related marketing multiple times a week.
With the number of ads going on TV during the day when minors can watch them and betting brands printed on playing kits, they may be right.
Nine Out of 20 Premier League Teams Sponsored by Bookmakers
Latest reports show that out of 20 Premier League, nine had bookmakers sponsoring them. Some examples are the partnerships between West Ham United and Betway, Newcastle United and Fun88, and Watford and Stake. The situation is similar in other leagues, as well. For example, Bwin has been known for its sponsorships supporting clubs like AC Milan in Italy and Real Madrid in Spain.
The United States is another important market where sports betting sponsors build their brand names through this proven method. Bookmakers have already infiltrated various American sports leagues, including the NBA, NHL, NFL, and UFC. MGM Resorts, DraftKings, FanDuel, and Fox Bet, for instance, are the official betting partners of the MLB. William Hill, FanDuel, and MGM Resorts, on the other hand, reign the NHL.
And if you wonder what’s the value of sports betting sponsorships, it was estimated at nearly $400 million in the US. So, it makes sense that sports clubs and leagues are willing to work with these brands, regardless of their primary field.
What’s the Problem, Though?
Responsible gambling and betting has been one of the cornerstones of the iGaming industry. Many people tend to overspend and waste money they don’t have while betting on their favorite sports. Studies have shown that users often go with brands sponsoring their favorite teams when choosing where to bet. Moreover, research data reveals that consumers tend to place unplanned wagers when they see adverts and sponsorships related to sports betting.
That’s why having the logos of bookmakers in newspapers as well as on kits, TV, and billboards can have a negative impact on many consumers’ betting habits. When sports betting is presented as a fun and friendly activity by your bookie, you may forget about the dangers that come with it.
Another serious issue is related to promoting these bookmakers to underage audiences. People of all ages love sports and often become attached to the brands sponsoring their favorite clubs. When kids go to stadiums heavily branded with sportsbooks’ colors and buy kits branded with bookmakers’ logos, they are influenced by them; regardless of whether that was the intention of the bookie or not.
Premier League Asking Clubs to Remove Gambling and Betting Sponsors
Laws on advertising gambling and betting companies have been strict, at least in some jurisdictions. In the UK, the Premier League has already been talking about removing them as sponsors or, at least, from their shirts. How this will affect the club’s finances remains to be seen. Yet, it will indeed have a positive impact on the audiences, especially minors.
Regardless of how much sense some things make when combined, the priority should always be protecting vulnerable groups. In this case, that’s underage sports fans as well as problem gamblers who may be triggered by all these sponsorships. So, it’s good to see that the issue isn’t ignored and that work is done to help sports remain a safe place for anyone who enjoys them.