Corporate sponsorship in sports is not a new concept. For more than a few decades, top corporations have sought major sponsorship deals with top players and major teams and leagues all over the planet. The resulting relationships have always been symbiotic. The players, teams and leagues get cold cash and the corporate sponsors get a marketing canvas with access to millions of potential customers.
Today, the world of corporate sponsorship in sports is on an upward trajectory, and social media might well be one of the most important motivating factors. In America, top corporations are at war trying to land major stadium deals and equipment contracts. The issue at hand for corporate sponsors is they can no longer get the exposure they need through traditional advertising media like television and radio advertising. They need access to the social media accounts maintained by the aforementioned players, teams and leagues. Why? That’s where potential customers now go for entertainment, news and yes, advertising for the latest and greatest products.
Something very different is taking place in Europe where a whole new breed of corporate sponsor is clamoring to align itself with top football (soccer) organizations, including players. This whole new breed of corporate sponsor comes from the gambling, especially the online gambling, industry.
With the proliferation of gambling all over the world, major gambling conglomerates like Casumo casino are seizing on the opportunity to market their gambling products to a fast-growing population of football fans who also enjoy gambling online. The marriage between these two industries is as natural as it gets. What’s more telling is the increase in activity between corporate gambling sponsors and the leagues, which is growing at a rate similar to the increase in revenues online gambling operators are experiencing. This phenomenon is occurring because the online gambling population is growing exponentially due in large part to the fast-growing number of countries that are legalising online gambling.
By the way, the increase in gambling sponsorships goes well beyond the Premier League, which has actually been operating without a league sponsor since its sponsorship deal with Barclays expired in 2016. What we do see at the league level is deals like Sky Bet sponsoring the EFL (English Football League) and Ladbrokes sponsoring the Scottish Premiership.
What we see at the team level is even more telling about the relationship between Premier League teams and the gambling industry. The teams with gambling shirt sponsors include Bournemouth (M88), Burnley (Laba360), Crystal Palace (ManBetX), Everton (SportPesa), Fulham (Dafabet), Huddersfield Town (OPE Sports), Newcastle United (Fun88), West Ham United (Betway) and Wolverhampton (W88). That’s almost half of the league’s teams that proudly wear a gambling brand as its primary shirt sponsor.
It’s notable that many of aforementioned relationships involve the smaller teams. The larger market teams like Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea could well veer away from the big airlines and auto companies towards gambling interest as the online gambling continues its unprecedented expansion. In America, we are already seeing major sponsorships deals being signed between gambling providers like the Golden Nugget and Caesars International and all of the major sports leagues (MLB, NHL, NBA and NFL).
Indeed, the relationship between sports in general and sports gambling is one that will likely thrive well into the future. The only issue of concern, maintaining the integrity of the respective sport, is being addressed. The next big move for the football leagues could well be pursuit of sponsorships deals for stadiums. Currently, the Premier League only boasts two branded stadiums. With salaries rising, ownership may well have found a great new source of revenues to help maintain profitability.