Details of this arrangement
Manchester United have unveiled a gambling company as the latest of their 23 sponsors. Sports betting platform Yabo Sport is now the official gambling partner of the English Premier League club.
The club’s previous official gambling sponsor was MoPlay. As reported in the Irish Mirror, the new deal with Yabo Sport will be worth in the region of £2m-£3m ($2.4m-$3.6m) to Manchester United each year.
The announcement of this new sponsorship deal came in advance of the team’s first Premier League game of the season against Chelsea. The club’s managing director Richard Arnold was the main driver behind the deal.
The team has a lucrative arrangement with its various sponsors. For the 2017/2018 season, the club had sponsors revenue of £276m ($333m). This compares to £66m ($80m) in the 2008/2009 season.
Manchester United are in a ten-year arrangement with sportswear behemoth Adidas, which is worth £750m ($904m). Their short sponsorship deal with Chevrolet is worth around £500m ($603m) to the club. Other major sponsors include the likes of DHL, Aon, Tag Heuer and Konami.
Gambling sponsors in football
Sponsorship deals between gambling companies and football teams is nothing new. Currently, nine of the twenty teams in the English Premier League have gambling companies as their shirt sponsors.
In the next tier down, gambling companies represent 17 of the 24 Championship teams as kit sponsors. Sky Bet is also a major sponsor of various English football leagues including the Championship.
Concerns are growing
Many people have expressed concerns about the influence of gambling sponsors in football. They believe that young people are too impressionable and that such deals normalize gambling. Those watching games are inundated with pro-gambling messages, with sponsors appearing on kits, stadium billboards and in advertisements during televised games.
Jim Orford from Gambling Watch UK is very concerned at this growing trend of gambling sponsors in football. He says:
There is evidence that gambling is becoming ever more normalized, particularly among young people.”
He also believes that betting is “increasingly seen as part and parcel of following and supporting one’s favorite sport or team.”
Some gambling companies are responding to this movement. GVC Holdings, which owns a number of major sports betting brands such as Coral, Ladbrokes and Betdaq are calling for an end to gambling sponsorship in football. Betdaq has donated its shirt sponsorship for Sunderland FC to the Children with Cancer charity for the 2019/2020 season.