In the world of football, where every moment on the pitch is valued in the millions, clubs are looking for new revenue streams. The UK, with its booming online casino market, has become a springboard for unique partnerships.
Having refreshed their financial strategies, clubs are turning their attention to new markets and online casinos are becoming attractive candidates for partnerships. Not only clubs, but also online casino brands are looking to strengthen their position in the community through partnerships with football giants.
In this article, we will look at how football clubs Irish casinos not on gamstop, are building sponsorship relationships with online casino brands and how these contracts affect their budgets.
Online casino boom in the UK
Online casinos have been an integral part of the entertainment industry in the UK since the early 2000s, when the Gambling Act was passed to regulate and licence online casinos. Since then, online casinos have attracted millions of players looking for fun, excitement and the chance to win money.
According to The Guardian, online casinos generated £3.2 billion in revenue in 2020, accounting for 39.9 per cent of total gambling revenue in the UK. Online casinos offer a wide range of games such as slots, roulette, blackjack, poker and others, as well as various bonuses and promotions to attract and retain customers. Online casinos also utilise modern technology such as mobile apps, live dealers, virtual reality and blockchain to improve the quality and security of their services.
Irish casinos and GamStop
However, not all online casinos are subject to the rules and regulations set by the Gambling Commission. Some online casinos, especially those operating under licences from other countries such as Ireland, Curacao or Malta, are not part of the GamStop self-exclusion system, which allows players to restrict their access to gambling for a certain period or permanently.
This means that players who have registered with GamStop can still play at these online casinos despite their decision to stop. This can lead to problems with gambling addiction which is a serious disorder that affects a person’s physical, mental and social well-being.
On the other hand, Irish casinos that are not part of GamStop may have advantages such as higher bonuses, more games, fewer restrictions and more freedom of choice for players who want to gamble responsibly and control their spending.
contingent interested in online casinos is becoming an additional audience for clubs, attracting not only football enthusiasts but also entertainment in the digital age. The integration of casino brands into the world of football creates exciting prospects for both parties.
Sponsorship contracts in the world of football
Football clubs started attracting sponsors back in the 1970s when they started putting company logos on their shirts. Since then, sponsorship has become one of the main sources of income for football clubs, who use the money to cover expenses such as salaries of players, coaches, staff, stadium hire, equipment, etc.
According to Deloitte, in the 2019/2020 season, sponsorship accounted for 18 per cent of the total revenue of European football clubs, which equates to €4.1 billion . Sponsorship also helps football clubs to increase their visibility, reputation and fan loyalty. Typical partners of football clubs include sportswear and footwear manufacturers, car companies, airlines, banks, breweries and others. Recently, however, more and more football clubs are entering into sponsorship contracts with online casino brands, who see football as an ideal platform to promote their services.
How the value of a sponsorship agreement is determined and what factors affect it
The value of a sponsorship agreement depends on many factors that are taken into account when negotiating between a football club and an online casino brand. Among these factors are the following:
- The level of fame and popularity of a football club, its history and traditions, its sporting achievements and ranking, its fan base and geography, its participation in national and international tournaments and competitions. The higher these indicators, the more the sponsorship is worth, as the online casino brand gets more exposure and exposure to its target audience.
- The number and level of matches in which the football club participates, their broadcast and coverage in various media channels, their impact on public opinion and sentiment. The more and better quality matches, the more the sponsorship is worth, as the online casino brand gets more opportunities to showcase its logo and slogan, as well as various marketing activities and campaigns.
- The type and location of the sponsorship, i.e. what element of the football uniform or club paraphernalia the online casino brand logo will wear, how often and for how long it will be visible to spectators and fans, and how it will be combined with other sponsors and partners of the club. The bigger and better visible the sponsorship is, the more the sponsorship is worth, as the online casino brand gains more recognition and loyalty, as well as more associations with the football club and its values.
Football clubs’ strategies in attracting online casinos
Football clubs select online casino brands to partner with based on various factors such as financial terms, target audience, values and objectives. Clubs also consider the regulatory environment in which they operate and the potential risks associated with association with the gambling industry.
For example, the UK has strict rules and restrictions around gambling advertising, which prohibit showing it to minors, claiming that gambling can solve financial problems or influence success in sport, and using celebrities or athletes as intermediaries.
Therefore, football clubs and online casino brands are creating mutually beneficial strategies for both parties, which include various forms of co-operation. For example, online casino brands can get the right to place their logo on the clubs’ jerseys, billboards, websites and social media accounts, as well as run exclusive promotions and tournaments for fans. Football clubs, in turn, can receive financial support, increase their audience, improve their image and increase their competitiveness.
Some examples of successful partnerships between football clubs and online casino brands in the UK include:
- Manchester United and Mansion Group: Mansion Group, which owns several online casinos, became the official sponsor of Manchester United in 2015. The agreement provides that Mansion Group gets the right to use the club’s logo and name in its marketing campaigns, as well as to provide exclusive bonuses and prizes for Manchester United fans.
- Arsenal and Betfair: Betfair, one of the largest online bookmakers in the world, became an official partner of Arsenal in 2009. The agreement gives Betfair access to a huge database of Arsenal fans, as well as the ability to run special promotions and offers for them. Betfair also gets the right to place its adverts at the Emirates Stadium and on the club’s website.
- Liverpool and 888sport: 888sport, one of the leading online bookmakers and casinos, became Liverpool’s official sponsor in 2016. The agreement includes the 888sport logo on the sleeves of Liverpool’s shirts, as well as on billboards and screens at Anfield Stadium. 888sport also offers unique bonuses and tickets for Liverpool games to its customers.
What types of sponsorship exist and what advantages and disadvantages they have for both parties
There are several types of sponsorship of football clubs by online casino brands, which differ in terms of their involvement and influence on the football club and its activities. Among these types, the following can be distinguished:
1. A technical sponsor is an online casino brand that provides a football club with sportswear, footwear, equipment and other equipment needed for training and matches. The technical sponsor usually places its logo on all elements of the club’s football uniforms and paraphernalia, and may also participate in the development and design of these elements.
The benefits of a technical sponsorship for a football club are that it receives quality and free sports equipment and that it can enhance its image and prestige by associating with a well-known and trusted brand. The benefits of technical sponsorship for an online casino brand are that it receives constant and widespread publicity for its name and services, and that it can enhance its reputation and credibility by associating with a quality and professional football club.
The disadvantages of technical sponsorship for a football club are that it loses its autonomy and freedom to choose and use sports equipment, and that it may face negative reactions and criticism from its fans who may disapprove of the association with gambling.
The disadvantages of technical sponsorship for an online casino brand are that it incurs high costs for the production and supply of sports equipment, and that it can run the risk of losing its image and credibility if the football club performs poorly or is involved in scandals.
2. A title sponsor is an online casino brand that acquires the right to the name of a football club or its stadium, as well as the use of its logo and slogan in all official documents, publications and club events.
The title sponsor usually pays the highest amount for sponsorship and can also influence the strategy and management of the football club. The benefits of a title sponsorship for a football club are that it receives significant financial support and that it can expand its geographical reach and audience by partnering with an international and well-known brand.
The benefits of a title sponsorship for an online casino brand are that it gains exclusive and long-term association rights with a football club, and that it can increase its credibility and influence by participating in the decision-making and planning of the club’s activities.
The disadvantages of title sponsorship for both parties are that they lose their autonomy and identity and that they may face negative reactions or criticism from fans, media or the public.
Impact of contracts on the club’s budget
Sponsorship contracts with online casino brands affect football clubs’ budgets to varying degrees, depending on their level of prestige, popularity, and sporting achievements. However, in general, it can be said that sponsorship is an important source of revenue for football clubs, especially in the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has reduced revenues from ticketing, broadcasting, and merchandising.
According to KPMG, in the 2019/2020 season, European football clubs’ revenues fell by €3.7 billion compared to the previous season, representing a 13 percent drop in total. In such a situation, sponsorship can help football clubs to survive and remain competitive. Sponsorship contracts with online casino brands can give football clubs the opportunity to invest in their team, such as buying new players, improving infrastructure, increasing staff salaries and motivation, and developing their social responsibility.
In addition, such contracts create unique opportunities for fans. Special events, promotions and bonuses from casino brands make it even more exciting to participate in football events. This not only generates revenue for the clubs, but also strengthens the bond with the fans, making the experience of supporting the team unique.
Sponsorship contracts with online casino brands have become an integral part of the financial strategy of football clubs in the UK. They benefit both parties, as they allow online casinos to expand their audience and increase their visibility, while football clubs generate additional revenue and improve their sporting performance.
However, sponsorship also carries risks associated with regulatory pressures, ethical dilemmas and potential negative impact on players and fans. Therefore, football clubs and online casino brands must be careful and responsible in their partnerships, considering the interests of all stakeholders and complying with the rules and regulations set by the gambling industry.