By Apostolos Xinogalas
With the UKGC and also the UK government taking a hard stance on online gambling marketing, we are set to see some changes in the way that sponsorships are done. One of the changes we expect to see is the removal of betting companies being paraded around proudly in football stadiums. A decision that was not so welcome with many online bookmakers.
So what will sponsorship look like soon? Well, do you remember the 3-year sponsorship that West Bromich did with Ideal Boilers, a UK based boiler and heating company? Yes, we do, and we also remember the Boilernam parading around the football pitch, smiling and making fans enjoy the game a wee bit more. This is what the UK government want to target when it comes to sports partnership deals. The fun element is lost with a reminder of all the gambling establishments we can visit, and the government wants to eradicate problem gambling by eliminating the middle man. The excuse? Bring back the fun in the game, and if a punter wants to gamble, let him do so out of his or her free will. On the other hand, football teams still believe that a massive portion of their funds derives from sponsorships, and failure to secure good sponsorships means lack of funds, lack of players, lack of competitions and definitely a spot for relegation.
As the new marketing deals and sponsorships are still in the process of acquiring, the UK government is wasting no time in working towards changing the laws. By end of this year, a new white paper will be launched outlined. Parliament has already lobbied heavily with many anti-gambling charities to establish a more diligent gambling framework. The UK has already witnessed a ban on sponsorships that relate to tobacco and alcohol, and it seems that online bookmakers and new online casino deals will be next.
After having suffered many months of closure, lockdowns and halting of sports events, this will be another massive blow for the gambling industry. We can all agree that football is a multi-million dollar industry and the lack of cash flow will be a massive issue for Premier League dominant clubs that want to compete in European competitions such as the UEFA Champions League. Another factor to consider here is that online bookmakers might have millions of pounds to spend on marketing, but the small businesses elsewhere have and are still reaping the bad vibes of the covid-19 pandemic. Will they have enough money to sustain clubs in the United Kingdom, and the cash flow luxury that they are used to?
The multi-million dollar world of UK T-Shirt sponsorship was a cutthroat business, one where only the top dogs could make it to the ranks of the best deals. As we await the next deals and announcements shortly, we can now say that the sponsorship between TeamViewer and Manchester United was signed this week. A strange partnership if we may, but let us remember that we are used to big gambling companies such as William Hill sponsoring, or the likes of road giants Chevrolet. The new normal is TeamViewer, and we should expect to see more sponsorships of this sort moving forward. This indeed is the new normal.
In the meantime, as we wait for new announcement deals, Aston Villa and also Everton have already alienated themselves from betting firms sponsorships. Instead, both clubs have signed deals with Cazoo, an online car rental platform. This means that Aston Villa has scrapped the deal they had with online bookmaker W88, still, they will still pocket a generous 12 Million GBP from their new sponsorship deal. Another clause of the deal will see Aston Villa net some additional bonuses if they feature Cazoo’s logo on junior replica T-shirts. A great movie to see sales being boosted.
It is debatable to say that Aston Villa has completely shut their old partnerships off. Just like West Bromich still has partnerships with BET365, Villa still has an affiliation with LT. And why not? Whilst both teams are prepping for the new laws and legislations to come into effect, it is always good to keep options open and the cash comes in. The days of gambling has changed a lot. As the UK preps to amend the UK’s gambling Act, a new way of gambling and marketing is being sought. The UK gambler is bombarded with many gambling advertisements everywhere. On T-shirts, during football matches commercials and also with the accessibility of in gambling sports applications via smartphones.
If we look at the rest of the English Premier League, some teams still need to make the leap and halt the relationships they hold with online bookmakers. Let’s for example talk about Wolves. The club still enjoys the T-shirt donning the ManBetX logo. A deal that was signed for a 2019 - 2020 partnership that saw the club net a whopping 8 million. In the meantime, many clubs and entities have warned that a lack of big deals would result in a massive setback for all teams. The money that is attained from sponsorships and deals always goes into club and team investments, players, stadiums and much more elements that raises a club’s status internationally.
With the lack of gate money that the pandemic has halted, clubs are very much dependent on all the money that is brought in by partnership deals. Sports, especially football would need to see the impact of not having dealt with online bookmakers. The future is still uncertain, but the new normal is definitely guaranteed.