AS Roma is the latest in a long line of leading football clubs to partner with an online sports betting company.
The deal sees global online gambling company Betway sponsoring the club’s training kit through to the 2020–21 season. Meanwhile, Roma’s commercial team has been active over the last few months, signing a deal with Qatar Airways to sponsor its shirts and following up with a partnership with GPS navigation app Waze, who will become the club’s “official traffic partner” – not a bad thing to have if you have ever attempted to drive around Rome.
Link with Betway
But the link with Betway could be a shrewd move for both parties. Training kit is always popular with fans, and Serie A has just received a huge boost with the news that Juventus have completed the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid. Whether Ronaldo can transfer his phenomenal scoring record to Italy at the age of 33 remains to be seen – but his arrival in the league will significantly increase the profile of all the clubs and their sponsors.
Kaitlyn Colligan, AS Roma’s director of global business development, said: “Betway are a young and ambitious brand with global aspirations, and we are excited to offer our fans exclusive competitions, access, and insights from the Trigoria.” (If you don’t follow Italian football on a daily basis, the Trigoria is AS Roma’s training ground.)
Betway’s CEO Anthony Werkman made similarly warm noises as another link in the seemingly endless chain between football clubs and sports betting companies was forged – but the involvement of the betting companies is definitely not limited to football.
UFC climb in the ring with Parimatch
The mixed martial arts (MMA) organization Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) received a welter of publicity last year thanks to the huge box office success of the cross-promoted bout between MMA star Conor McGregor and boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr. That fight helped UFC bank over $700m (£530m) in revenue in 2017.
UFC is now looking to build on the commercial success by announcing a multi-year partnership with online sports betting company Parimatch, who will become UFC’s official betting partner across Europe (with exception of the UK and Ireland), the Middle East, and Africa.
Parimatch will also become UFC’s first ever marketing partner for the Commonwealth of Independent States region (loosely, the former Soviet republics), with the first UFC fight night due to take place in Moscow on September 15.
Sergei Portnov, general manager of Parimatch, said: “Partnering with UFC is massive for our company and for the continued growth of UFC as a whole.”
What’s certain is that this will not be the last tie-in we see between an emerging sport and a sports betting company. Right now, football might be leading the way as increasing numbers of high profile teams throughout Europe sign up with official betting partners – but other sports and teams will not be far behind. It’s a win-win situation and we can expect plenty more announcements in the weeks and months ahead.