Marketing stunt turns costly
English soccer club Huddersfield Town have been fined £50,000 ($61,500) by the Football Association (FA). This fine relates to a jersey worn by players during a preseason game that breached advertising rules.
This kit was only worn in a single game against Rochdale before the new Championship season commenced. It had a sash design emblazoned with the Paddy Power logo diagonally across the shirt.
While gambling companies are allowed to sponsor soccer clubs in England, the sash design was in breach of the rules.
kit was only worn in a single game against Rochdale
As per the FA regulation C.2 (i), all shirt advertising has to be “one single area on the front of the shirt, not exceeding 250 square centimeters.” As you can see above, the Paddy Power-sponsored jersey was most certainly in breach of this rule.
Fallout after the stunt
The marketing stunt stirred up a lot of controversy. This led to Huddersfield Town announcing that there will be no sponsor on the front of their home jerseys for the 2019/2020 season.
This incident follows an increasing number of calls to stop gambling companies advertising on the kits of soccer teams.
Huddersfield Town has endured a difficult start to the season. The club languishes in the relegation zone after losing their first six matches.
Paddy Power is a gambling company renowned for its publicity stunts.
One of their most recent advertisements involved Rhodri Giggs, a brother of Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs. In 2011 it came to light that Ryan had engaged in a long-running affair with his brother’s wife. The “Loyalty’s Dead” advert was subsequently banned for being in breach of advertising laws.
It is difficult to quantify how this particular jersey stunt paid off for the bookmaker given how viral the jerseys went on social media.
These jerseys went on sale for a short time, racking up £30,000 ($37,000) in sales. This money was donated to charity. Paddy Power has carried out similar marketing stunts with other soccer clubs, including Southend United, Motherwell and Newport County.
Huddersfield Town admits that it was in breach of the FA’s rules on this matter and has no intention of appealing the fine.