When it comes to football, there’s no bigger league than the English Premier League. Games are being broadcasted in as many as 188 different countries and around 880 million households.
The Premier League clubs have now collectively voted and agreed on putting a stop to front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with gambling companies. I would go as far as to say it is a groundbreaking decision that has come as a surprise to many.
First Sports League in the UK
This is the first UK professional sports league to voluntarily agree to restrict betting sponsorships.
“Premier League clubs have today collectively agreed to withdraw gambling sponsorship from the front of clubs’ matchday shirts, becoming the first sports league in the UK to take such a measure voluntarily in order to reduce gambling advertising,” the Premier League said in a statement.
“The announcement follows an extensive consultation involving the League, its clubs and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport as part of the Government’s ongoing review of current gambling legislation.
Massive Media Exposure
Being a top tier sponsor to one of the Premier League teams is first of all very expensive but also a very sought after spot because of the massive media exposure. This season, there are 8 different teams with a betting company as the sponsor with its logo across the chest of the players during games.
These teams are:
- Bournemouth (Dafabet)
- Everton (Stake.com)
- Brentford (HollywoodBets)
- Fulham (W88)
- Leeds (SBOTOP.net)
- Newcastle (Fun88)
- Southampton (Sportsbet.io)
- West Ham (Betway)
How Much Money Are We Talking About?
Sources say that the collective value of those partnership contracts is worth around £60 million per year. For example, Stake.com pays £10 million per year to Everton, while Fun88 gets its Newcastle deal for an annual £6.5 million.
Meet the Big 6
Considering casinos do pay a lot of money to the teams, this decision can be a tough pill to swallow for a lot of them. The biggest clubs known as the Big 6 (Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham) will always be fine in terms of money but for the smaller teams that do struggle, it’s definitely a financial blow.
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom, who accidentally happens to have made his fortune from sports betting, has previously backed a ban on such companies sponsoring the shirts of teams.
In 2022, Bloom had the following to say: “From a personal point of view, it’s really important to be aware of children seeing gambling or betting advertising on the shirt in particular, because they buy shirts.
“I don’t think having gambling sponsorship on shirts is good, but I understand that for some clubs, particularly clubs down the leagues with much less revenue, the gambling companies pay the best so it’s a difficult decision to turn them down.
A Much Needed Compromise
It was also decided, as a compromise, it will still be possible to promote gambling brands on the sleeves as well as on the boards in the arenas.
During the current 22/23 season, Aston Villa and Wolverhampton are two of the teams that are wearing betting-related brands on their sleeves.
Not Until 2026
Even though the decision has been made, the new rules won’t come into effect until the summer of 2026. The reason for this is of course the existing contracts and by postponing the deadline, it helps avoid any potential lawsuits for breach of contract.
Personally I think it’s only fair to give a 3-year transitional period, giving teams plenty of time to secure another sponsor. Also, during the 3-year period, there’s nothing that stops a team from signing a short-term deal.
Working With Other Sports
The Premier League said it would look at working with other sports on the development of a new code for responsible gambling sponsorship across the professional sports sector.