Once again, gambling firms will dominate shirt sponsorship in this year’s Premier League. Out of the possible 20 teams, 10 of them will show gambling logos on their shirts.
This is a move that’s angered anti-gambling campaigners with all the hoo-ha around the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ ban on advertising. But should we be surprised?
Football and gambling firms
Football and gambling have had close ties dating back many years and it’s no wonder why the two are so synonymous.
Many football fans love placing bets on football fixtures up and down the country. It, therefore, makes sense for gambling firms to spend heavily on shirt sponsorship and other marketing methods in football. And they do, as we’ll see later.
However, this comes at a time when anti-campaigners and politicians are concerned about the normalisation of betting among young fans.
Late last year, key bookmakers including Bet365 and Ladbrokes voluntarily agreed on a whistle-to-whistle advertising ban during all sporting events excluding horse racing.
Many critics were quick to point out that many football stadiums have digital billboards displaying gambling ads throughout the game. Not to mention football shirt sponsorship.
It seems betting firms have used the latter to counteract the whistle-to-whistle ban in the aim of keeping up their marketing activities.
Which teams are sponsored by gambling firms this season?
All in all, gambling firms are set to earn a record of £349.1 million from shirt sponsorship in the 2019/20 Premier League season. Whilst not all of this marketing budget accounts from gambling firms, they make up a fair chunk.
A record-equalling 10 teams have signed deals with gambling firms equating to a combined total of just under £70 million in gambling sponsorship.
- West Ham – Betway – £10 million
- Everton – SportsPesa – £9.6 million
- Wolves – ManBetX – £8 million
- Burnley – LoveBet – £7.5 million
- Crystal Palace – ManBetX – £6.5 million
- Newcastle – Fun88 – £6.5 million
- Watford – Sortsbet.io – £6.5 million
- Aston Villa – W88 – £6 million
- Bournemouth – M88 – £5 million
- Norwich – Dafabet – £3 million
This is an increase over last season in which 9 teams had gambling logos on their shirts.
You’ll notice that none of the big six teams have sponsorship deals with gambling firms. However, the majority of the remaining 14 teams do. This just goes to show how successful shirt sponsorship is for gambling companies.
Interestingly, GVC (owners of Ladbrokes and Coral) and Paddy Power Betfair are both against football shirt sponsorship. Perhaps they’d rather cut their own deal over being pushed by regulation.
In the championship, 17 out of the 24 teams show gambling logos on their shirts.
Anger from anti-gambling campaigners
As you can imagine, there’s been a lot of criticism from anti-gambling campaigners and politicians. Here’s what Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour party said:
‘Less than a year ago, we were told by the gambling industry that they are committed to reducing the amount of advertising in football. We were told that we are facing a ‘watershed moment’ in which they would strive to provide an ever safer gambling environment.
‘These are their words, not mine. But it is impossible to take these words in good faith when we are actually seeing an increase in gambling advertising around matches.
‘The time for warm words is over. Either the industry is going to act in good faith, or we will need stricter regulation of gambling advertising, starting with a ban on football shirt sponsorship.’
If the Labour party were to win a general election, they would immediately implement a ban on football shirt sponsorship. We’ll wait to see whether that happens in the next few years but if it doesn’t I think betting firms may put a hold to football shirt sponsorship themselves.