African Sportsbook Is Spending Millions on Premier League Sponsorship

  • SportPesa is the main sponsor of Everton FC in the English Premier League
  • The five-year deal is worth $12.4m annually to the soccer club
  • SportPesa currently dominates the East Africa sports betting market
Everton Football Club gate
SportPesa is in possession of the second-largest sponsorship deal between a gambling firm and the English Premier League through a $62m five-year agreement with Everton FC. [Image:]

An expansive sponsorship campaign

SportPesa, a major African sportsbook, currently has the second-largest sponsorship agreement for a gambling company in soccer’s richest league, the English Premier League (EPL).

second-largest sponsorship agreement for a gambling company in soccer’s richest league

SportPesa is the main sponsor of EPL soccer club Everton FC, with a five-year deal in place worth $12.4m annually. The sportsbook’s branding appears on the team’s jerseys as well as around their home stadium, Goodison Park.

Additionally, SportPesa has had links with Arsenal FC, Hull City FC, and Cape Town City FC. The firm was also sponsoring football clubs and leagues in Kenya for about $5.8m annually, a deal it recently withdrew for political reasons.

The EPL sees tens of millions spent annually by gambling companies to drive attention to their offerings through sponsorships. Half of the league’s teams have gambling companies sponsoring their jerseys. Many of these brands largely hail from Africa and Asia.

SportPesa spends millions each year to sponsor soccer teams and events across the world, with its main markets being Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania. While it does have a white-label platform operating in the UK, it is global outreach that the sportsbook is more concerned with.

Gambling sector in Africa booming

Levels of gambling in Africa are constantly growing. This has led to concerns in some nations about the problems it may cause. However, the governments benefit greatly from the tax revenue and the stimulation of the local economy the industry brings about. 

SportPesa is the leading operator in East Africa

Soccer is extremely popular in the likes of Kenya, with soccer match betting making up 79% of all sports bets made in 2018. During the same year, 11 of the leading 20 Google searches were related to betting, with searches for SportPesa ranking at the top of the list. SportPesa is the leading operator in East Africa, despite running into issues in Kenya

Millions of people in Kenya watch EPL games on a regular basis, where they are exposed to sponsorships by the likes of SportPesa. 

The commercial viability of sponsorship deals

According to Quartz Africa, African brands spend more than $40m annually on English Premier League clubs. This leads to more than $1bn generated in commercial partnership revenues every year. 

In a controversial move in 2018, the Rwanda Development Board agreed on a $39-million “Visit Rwanda” sleeve sponsorship with Arsenal FC. According to the board, the marketing costs have been more than 100% recouped since launch, with a 5% uptick in UK visitors.

Kenya is currently the third-biggest gambling market in Africa, following South Africa and Nigeria. 

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