Premier League sponsors have always been an important source of income for teams and along the years we have seen some very lucrative deals being made. Over the last few years, partnerships between betting companies and Premier League clubs have become much more common. This article will be looking into the sponsorship scene and what we can expect moving forward.
- How Does Premier League Betting Sponsorship Compare to Other Leagues?
- Best Betting Sites Sponsoring Premier League Teams
- Best Betting Sites Sponsoring Premier League Teams – Listed
- 2021/22 Premier League Betting Sponsors for Every Team
- Premier League Betting Sponsors Throughout the Years
- Premier League’s New Sponsorship Deal With Barclays
- How are COVID Restrictions Affecting Sponsorships?
- The Rise of NFTs & Fan Tokens
- Cryptocurrencies & Sponsorships
- The Future of Football Betting Sponsorships
- Evolution of Premier League Betting Sponsorships FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
How Does Premier League Betting Sponsorship Compare to Other Leagues?
The Premier League isn’t the only English division with close ties to gaming companies. Two thirds of Championship clubs have betting sponsorships on their kits, and the EFL Championship itself is sponsored by SkyBet. These deals – totalling around £40m – provide a crucial source of income for Championship clubs, especially given the financial ramifications of (at the time of writing) the ongoing pandemic.
Outside of England, the Spanish La Liga has seen multiple betting sponsorships in recent years. Perhaps the most notable and expensive partnership took place between Real Madrid and bwin, who sponsored the Spanish giants between 2007 and 2013.
Gambling sponsorships represented a crucial source of revenue for Spanish clubs, with 17 La Liga clubs having recent commercial ties with a gambling brand, and 8 of them (35%) being kit sponsors in the 2020/21 season. These included bwin for Valencia, Betway for Alaves, Levante and Real Betis, and Marathonbet for Sevilla. La Liga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona also had partnerships with betting companies through KOK Sports and 1xBet respectively.
However, the 2020/21 season is set to be the last that Spanish teams are able to promote gambling operators on their kits, after it was announced that regulations would be introduced limiting gambling advertising to just one hour per day between 1am and 5am.
In doing so, they will follow in the footsteps of Italy, who have restricted gambling-related sponsorships and advertising in conjunction with sporting events since July 2019. While they’ll still be able to partner up with bookmakers, Spanish teams won’t be able to advertise them on their kits, and there’s also talk of a ban on in-stadia betting advertising. These changes could cost Spanish clubs up to €80 million.
There is no such ban in France, with Ligue 1 and 2 recently inking a betting partnership with French-based bookie Betclic. Only 1 French team – Montpellier – had their shirt sponsored by a betting company in 2019/20, but 17 of the 20 teams (85%) held partnerships with 13 different gambling firms.
A similar story follows the German Bundesliga. There have only been a handful of betting logos advertised on German teams’ playing attire in recent seasons, with Sunmaker (Padernborn) the only main betting shirt sponsor during 2019/20. During the 2020/21 season, no Bundesliga team had gambling related logos on the front of their shirts; however, Mainz and Werder Bremen did have them on their sleeves.
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Best Betting Sites Sponsoring Premier League Teams – Listed
2021/22 Premier League Betting Sponsors for Every Team
Gambling firms have become more prominent in the Premier League than ever before. Only one team – Norwich – began the 2021/22 Premier League season without any betting brand partnership after Chelsea and Liverpool partnered with Parimatch and 1xBet respectively ahead of the campaign.
Nine of the 20 Premier League clubs – Brentford, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton, Watford, West Ham and Wolves – display a betting brand on the front of their shirts. Aston Villa, meanwhile, also feature a betting brand on their kits, but on their sleeves instead.
It’s notable to see that none of the traditional top six have a betting logo on their official kits, though Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal have all partnered up with gambling companies in one way or another. Leicester City have the highest number of betting partnerships with five, having ties to Yabo Sports, Parimatch, bet365, Betway and W88.
|Arsenal||Sportsbet.io (official betting partner)|
|Aston Villa||OUBAO BET (sleeve sponsors)|
|Brentford||Hollywoodbets (shirt sponsor)|
|Brighton||Betway (official betting partner)|
|Burnley||Dafabet (other partner)|
|Chelsea||Parimatch (official partner)|
|Crystal Palace||W88 (shirt sponsors)|
|Everton||Parimatch (official sponsors)|
|Leeds United||SBOTOP (shirt sponsors), bet365 (betting partner)|
|Leicester United||Parimatch (official training wear partner) HTH (official betting partner), Betway, W88 (other partners)|
|Liverpool||1xBet (official partner)|
|Manchester United||HTH (official betting partner)|
|Newcastle United||Fun88 (shirt sponsors), bet365, BoyleSports (betting sponsor)|
|Southampton||Sportsbet.io (shirt sponsors)|
|Tottenham Hotspur||William Hill, Fun88, Betway (official betting partners)|
|Watford||Stake.com (shirt sponsors)|
|West Ham United||Betway (shirt sponsors)|
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||ManBetX(shirt sponsors), bet365, BoyleSports (official betting partners)|
Premier League Betting Sponsors Throughout the Years
Given how many we see today, it's quite incredible to think that it took until the 2002/03 season for a betting company to make an appearance in the English top flight. That year, The Cottagers (Fulham) brandished Betfair on their home and away strips. It proved to be a pivotal moment, paving the way for more betting companies to market themselves on a Premier League stage.
Since then, an increasing number of teams have penned deals with gaming companies. At least 10 teams have had betting logos emblazoned across the front of their shirts or on their shirt sleeves since the 2016/17 season, with the joint highest being 11 in the 2016/17 and 2017/18 seasons. Out of the record-breaking £349.1 million made from shirt sponsorship deals in the 2019/20 season, £68.6 million came from gambling brands.
Current Betting Companies Sponsorship
- Betting logos are not only displayed on the front of the shirts of players. Since the 2017/18 season, teams have been granted the opportunity to sell an 100cm2 area on their left sleeves to commercial partners, worth approximately an extra £3 million in revenue for every club. Betting logos like 12Bet, Lovebet and LT can now be spotted on the sleeves of West Brom, Burnley and Aston Villa kits respectively. Betting logos like for brand new betting site OUBAO BET, can be seen on the left sleeve of Aston Villa.
- Sponsorships also extend beyond match-day kits. Training kit sponsorships have become a common sight nowadays, with a team like Manchester City advertising betting brands solely during training sessions and warmups.
- As well as shirts, companies frequently pay for pitch side perimeter advertising and in-stadia advertising. Anyone who watches Premier League football will have noticed betting brands being advertised on billboards during live matches. Apart from that, whole stands and stadiums have been named after sponsors, with bet365 stadium in Stoke City being the most obvious example.
- We can not forget to mention the predominance of betting adverts on television. A BBC investigation found that a whopping 95% of TV advertising breaks during live football matches featured a gambling ad for the likes of bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power. This included the build-up, half time intervals and post-match discussions on the Sky Sports, BT Sport and ITV channels. An estimated £150 was spent by gambling firms on TV adverts in 2016 alone, with celebrities like José Mourinho, Michael Owen and Harry Redknapp often playing a central role.
- This apparent takeover by the betting industry on sponsorships took a bit of a hit after 2020/21 season, as the UK government launched a review into the 2005 Gambling Act. This came after a House of Lords committee suggested that Premier League clubs should not be allowed to advertise betting companies on their shirts as from 2023. A blanket ban on gambling sports sponsorships still remains a possibility at the moment.
- In fact, the industry of betting companies sponsoring football clubs worldwide has seen a decrease of more than half its share of football sponsorship, going from 32% to just over 15%. Having said that, it still remains the most prominent sponsor type in football. This also comes as clubs have taken a more socially responsible stand when it comes to the messages they promote amongst fans and communities.
Premier League’s New Sponsorship Deal With Barclays
The Premier League announced a new three-year sponsorship deal with long-time partner Barclays in December 2021. The pair have been in partnership since 2001, and the new sponsorship agreement extends their association through to the 2024/25 season.
Barclays was the Premier League’s title sponsor for 15 years, paying £40m a year to do so, before the league opted to pursue a ‘clean brand’ and replicate major US sporting leagues such as the NFL and NBA following the conclusion of the 2015/16 campaign. The English top-flight has merely been known as the ‘Premier League’ since.
Despite its dropping as the league’s title sponsor, Barclays later signed up as an official banking partner of the Premier League to maintain relations. At the time, Premier League managing director Richard Masters said: “Barclays has been a fantastic title sponsor of the competition and this new partnership is a sign of the value they continue to see in being associated with the Premier League.”
The relationship between the two companies has gone from strength to strength since, with Barclays also making a concerted effort to develop women’s football via generous investment. The bank is set to invest more than £30m in women and girls’ football between 2022 and 2025 – a record-setting figure in UK women’s sport.
Barclays also became the inaugural title sponsor of the FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship.
How are COVID Restrictions Affecting Sponsorships?
Staggering and unprecedented revenue losses for the vast majority of Premier League clubs at the start of the pandemic had sponsors fearing the worst. Thus, the primary objective of many clubs was to maintain their relationships with commercial partners in a bid to offset losses. When Premier League football returned behind closed doors following a three-month absence in June 2020, along with it came new branding opportunities. As a result, sponsors were expected to receive just shy of $1m for each game played behind closed doors, per Nielsen Sports.
Now, with restrictions starting to ease, clubs are once again placing a greater emphasis on sponsorships in order to generate additional revenue despite the upsurge in gate receipts. GlobalData estimate Premier League clubs to earn over $1.5bn in sponsorship revenue throughout the 2021/22 campaign, a 6.9% increase on 2020/21.
GlobalData add that cryptocurrency brands are some of the biggest drivers of this revenue increase. 14 clubs are now in partnership with a cryptocurrency brand, with their investments increasing from $3.4m to $12.7m.
On a more microcosmic scale, COVID restrictions are still impacting sponsorship deals among Premier League clubs. Strict COVID measures remain in place across training grounds to ensure that teams aren’t struck down by outbreaks, but such measures are starting to frustrate clubs on the sponsorship front. With players forced into bubbles, clubs are unable to satisfy the needs of big commercial partners due to the absence of product-promoting players.
This is causing angst as some clubs fear that unfulfilled agreements with sponsors could lead to refunds being paid out. Chelsea have already laid out these fears to the Premier League and the governing body are set to report back with measures reviewed weekly. There’s hope that such restrictions could be gone by the end of February.
The Rise of NFTs & Fan Tokens
You either know everything there is to know about cryptocurrencies and the newly emerging ‘non-fungible tokens’ (NFTs), or you have no idea whatsoever. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground.
While the rise of crypto has been fairly gradual over the past decade before a recent boom in the past couple of years, with Bitcoin the pioneer, the evolution of NFTs into mainstream consciousness has been rapid. These tokens are unique, often digital assets, that can’t be replaced.
Essentially, NFTs are akin real-life collectibles such as trading cards or vinyl records. It’s the digital, modern-day iteration. For the wealthy, trading and investing in NFTs is an intriguing opportunity and we’ve seen many footballers, including John Terry, Reece James and Paul Pogba, get involved.
NFTs are also starting to enter the gambling sphere. Not only can you bet on the appearance of an NFT during the upcoming Super Bowl half-time show, but the projected growth of the gambling industry may fasten the integration of NFTs into this sphere. Evolution Gaming’s purchase of four CryptoPunks in 2021 opened the door for the usage of NFTs as potential slot machine prizes. Overall, the possibilities with gambling and NFTs are endless, with the metaverse landscape set to create a whole new realm for online gambling.
For football fans, ‘fan tokens’ are a great opportunity to feel even closer to the club they love. These digital assets give holders access to products and services that wouldn’t otherwise be accessible. Italian giants Juventus were the first club to offer fan tokens back in November 2019 and many clubs have since followed their lead. In the Premier League, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Everton, Leeds United and Manchester City are all offering their supporters the chance to buy fan tokens. The clubs can decide what perks come with purchasing their token.
Cryptocurrencies & Sponsorships
The prominence of cryptocurrencies in the footballing world recently culminated in Binance, the largest crypto exchange in the world, partnering and sponsoring the 2021 African Cup of Nations. In doing so, Binance became the first crypto and blockchain sponsor for the event. The company’s director for Africa, Emmanuel Babalola, said he hoped the sponsorship will further enhance Binance’s “mission to take crypto mainstream across the continent.”
As we’ve already alluded to, Premier League clubs have seized upon the crypto hype by offering ‘fan tokens’ for supporters. Previously, football’s relationship with crypto had been described as a “free-for-all”, but steps are being made by various governing bodies to bring about greater regulation. Nevertheless, the validity of the aforementioned tokens remains under scrutiny.
While the Premier League were said to have been considering a partnership with a crypto platform that provides NFTs, they remain cautious and were said to be investigating cryptos ties with Premier League clubs late last year. Watford’s official shirt sponsor is crypto betting firm Stake.com, while Southampton’s training kit is sponsored by Learn Crypto. CoinJar is also a sponsor of Brentford.
Should gambling companies be banned from sponsoring Premier League shirts from 2023, crypto firms and exchanges are primed to fill the void.
The Future of Football Betting Sponsorships
The relationship between English football and the gambling industry has been increasingly scrutinised in recent years, with pressure mounting on the government to intervene.
A 2017 study found that during three episodes of BBC highlights programme “Match of The Day”, gambling logos or branding appeared on screen for between 71% to 89% of the show’s running time. People have continually voiced their dissatisfaction with the authorities’ lack of effort in reducing exposure to these adverts, especially since so many underage supporters follow the league religiously.
An upcoming government review on these sponsorships could lead to a potential blanket ban on football betting sites marketing their products through major sports. This would see them joining a host of other European countries, like Italy, Netherlands and Turkey in taking a stand against gambling advertising.
It seems that, following the huge financial blows during the pandemic, the Italian FA is trying to get the betting sponsorship ban lifted so that club may hopefully get a boost and alleviate some of the financial burdens they are currently facing. The FIGC wishes the regulations to be lifted up until at least the 30th of June, 2023.
English clubs should have a clearer picture on the situation before the 2022/23 season. With huge stacks of money on the line, any decision taken by the government will undoubtedly have huge implications moving forward.
Evolution of Premier League Betting Sponsorships FAQs
Fulham became the first Premier League team to be sponsored by a betting company during the 2002/2003 season, when they struck a deal with Betfair.
A total of 19 Premier League clubs have agreed partnerships with betting companies during the 2021/22 season, with nine of these clubs advertising betting logos on the front of their shirts. Aston Villa, meanwhile, have a sleeve sponsor.
17 different betting companies currently boast partnerships with Premier League clubs and appear on their shirts in one form or another. The most prominent is bet365, while the others include, Sportsbet.io, Parimatch, Hollywoodbets, OUBAU BET, Spreadex, W88, SBOTOP, Fun88, Stake.com and ManBetX.
A government review of the Gambling Act was set to take place before the start of the 2021/22, amid growing pressure to ban betting sponsorships in the Premier League but no final decision has been reached yet. The review is now set to take place in May 2022 following several delays.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
Gambling companies have become deeply rooted in the modern-day fabric of ‘the beautiful game', providing clubs with millions of pounds to spend. The revenue they generate through these lucrative deals is a key part of their income streams, and has played a significant role in financing the top talent we see in the Premier League today.
However, there has and will continue to be much discussion centred around the ethics associated with gambling advertising, meaning the UK government has a big decision on their hands.