Football clubs and sponsorship deals
Football, the one played outside the US, is the most popular sport in the world by far and the huge demographic makes it the ideal choice for sports betting deals. Most of the major sportsbooks, be it online or land-based establishments, have football as their main attraction. It is only normal then that gambling operators looking to attract more customers would look to venture into the world of football and invest the big part of their funds.
This is exactly what one could observe right now as some of the biggest European and Asian gambling operators are fighting for a spot on the t-shirts of the major teams in the sport and are willing to put down huge amounts of money.
Betting on the Premier League
The English Premier League is the most popular football championship in the world, as far as global audience goes. According to surveys from past years, before the 2009/10 season, the Asian market had the big chunk of the audience – roughly 40%.
With so many fans tuning in to see and support their favorite teams, gambling companies saw it as the ideal opportunity to attract new customers and make their brand more recognizable on the continent and also beyond the Asian borders. The Premier League clubs were simply taken by storm by the Asian gambling operators and deals worth millions were made. Four years ago, 188BET had obtained an Isle of Man license and became the first gambling company to appear as a sponsor on two different clubs in the same season. The deals were made with Wigan Athletic (£650,000) and Bolton Wanderers (£750,000).
The advertisement space on the shirts became more and more valuable for companies around the world and the top teams were the ones picking their favorite deals from the bunch. Nike has recently signed a deal with Inter Milan that will extend their contract for another 10 years, worth €20 million per year. To make it even more impressive, Nike doesn’t even get the brand name on the shirts but just a small logo on the chest.
So, why is the Premier League so big? One answer would be that it has some of the best teams in the world which take the sport to a whole new level. Fans will always enjoy watching the best, no matter what sport we are talking about. However, the Premier League also has the most foreign players in all the leagues in the world. This doesn’t just make it big in the UK, but also brings a lot of viewers from various countries looking to support their stars. In the 2011/12 season, the teams had 62.2% of the players originate from foreign countries. A total of 71 different nations were represented by at least one player. The growing popularity of the leagues also helps the online gambling industry in Europe.
It didn’t take long for the Premier League clubs to see the potential in buying more players from Asia, not mainly for their abilities but mostly to attract more Asian fans and thus bigger sponsorship deals.
Billions of fans watching the Premier League
The coverage of the Premier League is also very impressive, with 80 broadcasters presenting the games in 2012 to a TV audience of 4.7 billion. Once China made the Premier League free-to-air, 300 million viewers were added to the list. More than 70% of the football fans in the world follow the English Premier League.
Clubs can earn around £3 million per year for every betting partnership they make and most of them don’t stop at one. This means more money to invest in the team, get better players and thus increase the value of each deal. Adidas is the single biggest investor in football, spending just under $200 million every year.
However, with all the money involved and the many viewers, the relationship is not perfect. Some teams still have to remove gambling shirt sponsors when they play in certain countries. A recent incident happened in Newcastle where Pappis Cisse didn’t want to wear his shirt because the payday loan advertisement on the shirt was against his religion.
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