Why are top casino brands putting their money in to football?
Football has long had a tradition of being sponsored by bookmakers - the marriage of football and betting goes way back to the days of the pools.
But now casino brands have got in on the act. In the last decade, more and more casino brands have been appearing on club shirts in English football and beyond.
Online casinos are now big business and have the type of disposable cash that means they can compete for top billing on team shirts - with that money then being invested by the club into things like the astronomical transfer fees and player wages we see today.
Here’s some of the most significant deals from history.
Fulham FC - Betfair
Fulham signed a landmark deal in 2002 with Betfair, the betting exchange, which now also has an online casino brand.
Casinopedia reports on Betfair Casino which at that time was an up-and-coming casino brand, based purely online, and ready to challenge the existing bookmakers by offering punters better deals.
Fulham, then a Premier League outfit financed by the colourful businessman Mohammed Al Fayed, were ahead of their time in terms of their new sponsor.
They were also a seriously good side in those days, doing enough to qualify to play European football.
Although it was a small deal then compared to today (the financial details were not fully revealed) it set the marker for things to come.
Everton FC - SportPesa
Fast forward 16 years and we now have not just traditional British brands but online casino and betting brands from overseas getting in on the act.
Everton have a shirt sponsorship in place with online bookmaker and casino SportPesa, which, although it does have a European footprint, is primarily concerned with the African market.
Due to the huge pulling power of the Premier League, the broadcast rights to games are sold the world over. As one of the most recognisable sports brands in the world, the Premier League is now a global franchise.
That means that global brands are happy put their hands in their pocket to get their names out there.
The deal is worth £9.6 million a year to the Toffees - a lucrative deal that shows just how much the exposure is worth.
Amazingly there are a huge array of brands on Premier League shirts that barely have a market in the UK, and it is all about exposure in other continents, particularly in Asia.
Manchester United (& AC Milan) - bwin Casino
From 2006 to 2010, bwin was jersey sponsor of AC Milan.
Bwin is a well-known Austrian headquartered sports betting and online casino that has a big European market.
Bwin also have a strong affinity to involving themselves in high profile deals with some of the biggest clubs in the world.
Many fans will associate them with their time as Real Madrid shirt sponsor. It was a heavyweight deal ($25.9m per year to be exact).
But in 2006 bwin signed a four-year deal with Italian giants AC Milan. Being the main shirt sponsor cost them $12,250,000 a year to the Rossoneri.
Furthermore the very same day, this proactive online casino also did a deal with Manchester United to become their official football betting partner and agreed to pay a whopping $24.5 million per year, so on one day, the spent $36,750,000 million, per year.
Would the gamble pay off?
Certainly the demographic of sports fans are also ones that online casinos target. Young, cash rich, and with time on their hands to watch sports, some of these brands will hope to cross sell the sports betting side in to their online casinos operations.
611 words without Spor Toto…..
Spor Toto agreed on a deal to sponsor three of Turkey’s top four sides which created the Turkish Spor Toto Super League during the 16-17 seasons.
You may be forgiven for asking who Spor Toto is?
For your information, they are a government run betting operator and in 2010 agreed on a deal to sponsor three of Turkey’s top four sides which created the Turkish Spor Toto Super League.
This deal set them back a total of $125 million and equated to $25m per year and was one of the largest deals of all time involving a gambling brand, the media wildly covered it in the press..