Sports marketing experts have stated that if gambling brands are excluded from participation, the sponsorship market will change radically, as the government is now reportedly advocating.
Ministers’ concern over gambling addiction has been reported in recent days following the opening of a DCMS review of the Gambling Act in December, and a jersey sponsorship ban is a “likely” outcome.
Such a ban would cut the cost of shirt sponsorship deals with the eight Premier League clubs that currently have gambling tokens on the front of their shirts by 25% to 50%, according to Joel Seymour-Hyde, UK director of sports sponsorship, specialist Octagon.
“New sponsors could enter the market, as happened at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008/10. Brands that may have been priced by betting brands or that didn’t want to be associated with a market crowded with betting could also pop up suddenly, ”he said.
The eight clubs and their sponsors are: Burnley (LoveBet), Crystal Palace (W88), Fulham (BetVictor), Leeds United (SBOTOP), Newcastle United (Fun88), Southampton (Sportsbet.io), West Ham United (Betway) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (ManBetX).
The next largest major category for shirt sponsors in the Premier League is financial services, which have four club stores, followed by airlines and online car dealerships with two each.
Seymour-Hyde added, “Relatively ‘easy money’ from overseas betting brands like Fun88 and LoveBet would be difficult to replace in the first year or two – especially for clubs outside the Premier League top 6 and in the championship for some time dependent on this source of income. “
Gambling brands are drawn to soccer sponsorship partly because of the size of the soccer game market, he said. “It’s the number one sport to bet on in the UK and internationally, so betting brands want and need authenticity and a connection to the game.”
Another attraction is that “a soccer jersey is an incredibly efficient way to reach international soccer fans”. So the question is how many brands have this requirement.
According to Seymour-Hyde, betting brands knew that day was coming. “It was the idea we came up with behind the Paddy Power #Saveourshirt campaign: pioneering the removal of betting tokens from the sacred shirt before there was no other choice.”
“Ultimately, in the long run, the market will correct itself, the clubs will adjust, and if we are all bored with online auto dealers and FX trading platforms sponsoring our teams, a new savior may appear.”
The DCMS consultation also addresses the question of whether gambling brands should be excluded from advertising and will run until the end of March.
The Advertising Association, which will take part in the consultation, said in a statement: “Gambling advertising in the UK is subject to strict rules that already prohibit advertising that is designed to create a sense of urgency in placing a bet and prevent operators from marketing themselves excluded customers. Operators who do not comply with these rules are sanctioned by the ASA and, in the case of repeat offenders, are confronted by the gambling commission with measures to enforce the risk. “