This year’s shirts will be, as ever, a walking advert for not only the team itself but for various gambling sites, as an increasing number of teams count these large online bookmakers and online casinos as part of their sponsorship backing.
Looking at just the Premier League, almost half of the 20 teams wear shirts advertising a gambling company, as bookmakers increasingly seek to become lead sponsors. When we look at the Championships, this 50% becomes almost 75% of teams.
It is not hard to conclude from this that the gambling market is going from strength to strength, coming full circle with the companies’ success ensuring that their logos are on full display, thus attracting even more customers.
By example, West Bromwich Albion recently signed 10bet to be their official lead sponsor and betting partner, including the 10bet logo on the back of the team’s shirts right next to the player’s name – gold dust in the advertising world!
Rise in the Advertising of Gambling
Though this rise in the advertising of gambling may be perceived by some as worrying, there are cases where the increased advertising can be and is being used positively.
Crystal Palace’s lead sponsor is ManBetX, yet they have been working closely with GambleAware to ensure that the main promotion is around safe betting practices. The EFL has also launched a campaign promoting responsible gambling, using their players influence to market the campaign by giving each a patch to wear on their shirt – in a similar vein to the way teams may advertise a charity or donate match fees for an important cause.
The situation in other European Leagues
Among the major European leagues, England has the most betting companies as their lead shirt sponsors, followed by the Spanish La Liga with five companies advertised. Though this implies a distinct lack of gambling culture among the other countries, this is not necessarily true.
Gambling partnerships exist in other countries as much as they do in England, and could even be argued to cause more problems. In Italy, for example, the Italian government is attempting to ban all gambling advertisements due to the adverse effects they believe the marketing is having.
In France, a state-run lottery company has signed for sponsorship deals with four teams in its own league, with FDJ also being confirmed as the official partner for the French football governing body – Ligue de Football Professionnel.
Likewise, in Germany, there are a number of partnerships that exist between the teams and local betting companies (an example being Tipico and Bayern); the difference in both of these cases is that the partnerships are not openly advertised on the players shirts as they are in England.
In conclusion, England’s tendency to opt for betting companies as shirt sponsors is by far the highest in Europe. As we suggested earlier, around half of upper-league teams advertise betting sites on their shirts, confirming the strong bond that we English see between sports betting and the sport itself.
Football + Gambling seems to be a match made in heaven, and it is our job to ensure it can continue to be enjoyed responsibly. Will this trend continue in the future? Keep following our news section to find out.