For decades fans of football have been accustomed to seeing corporate sponsors on team jersey. Many of these sponsors are household names that are known worldwide such as Adidas, Nike, Ford, and others. However, in recent years there has been a growing trend by football clubs to sign sponsorship deals with casinos and online gambling companies. Today we take a quick look at this growing trend.
The largest online gaming site that currently sponsors football squads is bwin.Party. Prior to their merger with Partypoker, bwin was a long term sponsor of Real Madrid and served as shirt sponsor for the squad from 2007 through the 2012. Bwin then ended their association with Real Madrid and moved their attention to the Premier League when they signed as Manchester United's shirt sponsor.
Speaking of the English Premier League sponsorships, there are a total of five clubs with casino or online gaming company Jersey sponsors. Three others have smaller "betting partner" deals that do not include jersey sponsorship. Aston Villa is currently under contract with Genting Casinos as a shirt sponsor. Genting is one of the largest brick and mortar casino companies in the world. West Ham United, Stoke city, and Wigan Athletic all have shirt sponsorship deals with smaller online gaming companies. Arsenal, Everton, and Liverpool all have deals with online gaming companies that provide betting services to their fans.
The Premier League does not have a monopoly on online gaming sponsorships. Both the English and Scottish FA's have signed a deal with UK bookmaker William Hill that will see the site act as English and Scottish National Team's betting partner through the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Netherlands Eredivisie football league is officially sponsored by the Vriendenloterij lottery, but the company cannot legally attach the name to the league.
Even smaller clubs have tapped online gaming sites as sponsors. Bodog signed a deal last year with Ayr United of the Scottish Football League. The company's founder, Calvin Ayre actually has ancestors from the Ayr region. Any of you that follow the League of Ireland likely know that St. Patrick's Athletic in the Premier Division signed a deal with Paddy Power to serve as shirt sponsor.
Sponsorship deals between gaming companies and football squads make perfect sense due to the fact that many fans of football either wager or are willing to wager on their favorite teams. These deals give the gaming companies excellent exposure and at the same time give the clubs extra capital with which they can improve the quality of their team.