The Changing Face of Football Sponsorship

Football clubs around the world have benefited financially by tying up with gambling sponsors. However, this partnership between gambling and football is under threat and this could bring about massive changes to both football and gambling.

Guest author Lucas Goldberg discusses the changing face of football sponsorship. To find out more about Lucas Goldberg, click here.

Football is arguably the most popular sport in the world as the beautiful game has billions of fans all over the world. The average football fan is mostly focused on watching the game and cheering on their favourite team to a win. However, there is a lot more to the game of football than just the 90 minutes that are played on the field.

Soccer into goal

Why is Football Sponsorship Important?

Football is so successful because there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. The top football leagues like the Premier League and the FA WSL in the UK, the La Liga and the Liga Iberdrola in Spain and the Serie A and Women’s Serie A in Italy are popular throughout the world. The teams in these football leagues are able to spend millions of dollars to hire the best players in the game and spend a lot more on coaching, training and stadium infrastructure.

All of these football clubs depend heavily on football sponsorship to bring in much-needed financial revenues. Football sponsors are willing to pay huge sums to get their brands advertised before a worldwide audience and there is a lot of competition amongst brands to secure a football sponsorship contract.

Different Football Sponsorship Options

Before we get into the changing face of football sponsorship, it is important to list out the different types of football sponsorship contracts that are generally on offer.

Stadium Sponsorship:

This is when sponsors go after the naming rights of a stadium. The UK is a great example of this as Arsenal men’s team has given Emirates stadium rights and hence fans now refer to the Emirates Stadium. Manchester City men’s team did the same thing with Etihad and now fans talk about the Etihad Stadium.

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Tournament Sponsors:

Gambling operators are very keen on going after tournament sponsorship as it gets their betting brand before millions of football fans. Gambling sponsors have competition from a number of big brands who all want to add their brand before the tournament.

Kit Sponsors:

Gambling operators are also keen on securing a football kit sponsorship. The most coveted of which is getting shirt sponsorship rights. This enables viewers to see the brand throughout the 90 minutes of play. A lot of the smaller teams in the premier leagues have shirts sponsored by casinos.

Changing Face Of Football Sponsorship

The UK market is a great example of the changing face of football sponsorship and the impact gambling in football has had. The betting sponsorship between football and gaming companies has come under the radar in 2021 in the UK.

This is because the UK has witnessed a significant rise in problem gambling and the COVID-19 situation and lockdown that followed in 2020 did not help at all. The UK government has a special committee looking into the relationship between gambling sponsorships and football.

There have been calls from gambling opponents in the UK and other parts of the world to limit the extent of gambling sponsorship on football while some have called for a complete ban on gambling sponsorships in football. Gambling opponents do not want children who watch football to be exposed to gambling products and services as they believe this induces children at a young age to turn to gambling sooner rather than later.

UK football clubs are not very happy with the new proposal as they know that they could end up losing millions of dollars in revenue if new laws prohibit gambling sponsorship contracts. Betting operators who have relied heavily on football sponsorship contracts are also nervous about the new proposal as they would have to find another reliable avenue of marketing and advertising their brand and services.

Football stadium

Conclusion:

There is certainly a case to have a reduction in gambling-related sponsorships and brand exposure in football. However, it has to be done responsibly as a complete ban could burn the finances of a lot of smaller football clubs around the world that have depended heavily on these gambling sponsorships to fund their kitties.

Football fans should also remember to engage in responsible gambling at all times and never let any gambling ad or marketing message influence them into going overboard with their football betting.

 

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