Sponsorship ban incoming
In the UK, gambling and soccer have developed a complex relationship. Large betting firms such as Betway, 32Red, and Bet365 have utilized their deep pockets to bankroll teams while increasing their market exposure through sponsorship deals. Until recently, one of the best ways to do this was through front-of-shirt agreements.
a ban on front-of-shirt sponsorship deals
Sadly for these gambling companies, the UK government has decided that these deals have gone on for too long. As part of a review of the outdated Gambling Act 2005, UK MPs are set to impose a long list of reforms for operators in the region. According to media reports, this will include a ban on front-of-shirt sponsorship deals between sportsbooks and pro soccer teams.
Undoubtedly, this will have a serious impact on the top tier of UK soccer. A staggering 45% of the English Premier League’s teams had shirt sponsorship deals with betting firms in the most recent season. Meanwhile, all but one of the league’s 20 teams had a betting deal in some form or another, including sleeve sponsorship.
With the government white paper on these reforms due for release soon, some clubs have decided to preempt a sponsorship ban by ditching their betting partners. Others will most likely have to bite the bullet and sever ties in one year’s time. The loss of these multimillion-dollar agreements will come at a great cost to each club, but VegasSlotsOnline News has assessed which teams will suffer the most.
The biggest losers
West Ham – Betway: £10m ($12.2m) per year
East London team West Ham has remained in the English Premier League since winning promotion in 2012. Since then, the team has built itself into a strong contender for European soccer, reaching the semi-final of the Europa League this year. As a result, West Ham has one of the most lucrative betting sponsorship deals in the EPL.
worth £60m ($73.3m) in total
The Betway deal, extended for six years in 2021, is worth £60m ($73.3m) in total. That means the club stands to lose £10m ($12.2m) per year if the sponsorship ban comes into effect.
West Ham shouldn’t struggle to find a suitable replacement for Betway, however. The £60m ($73.3m) deal is relatively small in comparison to the major EPL clubs at the higher end of the table. In the previous season, West Ham finished just outside the top six.
Everton – Stake: £10m ($12.2m) per year
While some EPL teams are preempting the sponsorship ban by ditching their betting partners, Everton has decided to follow a different path. Last week, the Liverpool club signed the largest commercial deal in its history with crypto gambling site Stake. The agreement is worth a reported £10m ($12.2m) per annum, meaning Everton will lose the same amount as West Ham if a ban comes into effect.
Unlike West Ham, however, Everton had one of its worst seasons on record in 2021/2022. The Liverpool club flirted with relegation after a disastrous run under former manager Rafa Benitez. His replacement, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard, was ultimately able to steady the ship somewhat, securing the team an EPL place for next season.
This recent poor form, which equated to a 16th place finish, could make it more difficult for the club to replace its multimillion-dollar gambling deal with a similarly lucrative offering.
Newcastle United – Fun88: £6.5m ($7.9m) per year
North East team Newcastle United has already confirmed that it will sever ties with betting company FUN88 early. The initial deal was supposed to run for another three seasons, but the 2022/2023 edition will serve as a last outing for the Chinese betting company on the Newcastle shirt. In ending the contract, Newcastle will lose out on £6.5m ($7.9m) per year.
the richest club in world soccer
Despite the loss of millions of dollars, Newcastle is well-positioned to replace the agreement with one potentially more beneficial. Wealthy Saudi owners took over the Magpies in October 2021, making it the richest club in world soccer. As a result, media reports have speculated that the team will partner with a large firm from the owners’ homeland, such as Saudi Airways or Aramco.
Crystal Palace – W88: £6.5m ($7.9m) per year
Much like Newcastle, Crystal Palace has decided to end its betting ties too. The London club announced an end to its partnership with online casino company W88 last month. It will cost the team £6.5m ($7.9m) annually, but Palace already has a replacement in the build-up to its record eighth successive season in the EPL.
Cinch, a UK-based online car marketplace, will take W88’s place on the Crystal Palace shirt next season.
Neither the company nor Palace have confirmed how much the multi-year deal is worth, but it will give the business “significant brand exposure” both on jerseys and the team’s website.
Leeds United – SBOTOP: £6m ($7.3m) per year
Yorkshire team Leeds United earned promotion to the Premier League after finishing top of the Championship in 2020. Looking to raise additional cash to support its EPL campaign, the club formed a club-record commercial partnership with online gaming brand SBOTOP. If a ban comes into effect, Leeds stands to lose as much as £6m ($7.3m) in annual sponsorship income.
escaped relegation on the final day
Added to this, the team could find difficulty replacing the deal with a lucrative offering due to a troublesome 2021/2022 season. Despite a very impressive previous campaign, Leeds escaped relegation on the final day this year, finishing just one place above the drop. Moving into the new season, the club will be hoping for a much more successful period under new manager Jesse Marsch.