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The evolution of betting sponsors in the English Premier League

If you’re someone who diligently follows the Premier League, you will definitely have noticed how more and more betting companies are finding a place on the players’ shirts these days.

Both gambling and football are extremely profitable industries, which have grown considerably in their association over the years.

By entering into sponsorship deals, betting companies and even some new UK casino operators are able to position themselves effectively in front of millions of football fans.

The Premier League clubs, on the other hand, get rewarded by getting paid millions of pounds in return.

This article explores the relationship in more detail.

The betting sponsors’ status right now

Barring only three clubs – Sheffield United, Liverpool and Chelsea – every Premier League team began the 2020-21 season with some kind of association with a betting brand.

Almost 50% of the remaining teams display a betting brand’s logo in front of their shirts, with two displaying it on their sleeves.

Amongst all the gambling companies, Bet365, Betway, Parimatch and Sportsbet have maximum visibility in the league.

West Ham make the biggest bucks through their £20m Betway deal.

How things have evolved over the years

It’s pretty remarkable that one couldn’t see any betting company in the league before the 2002-03 season.

Fulham were the first club to partner with a betting brand, Betfair, that year, and displayed its logo on the Cottagers’ away and home strips.

It opened up the doors for other betting companies to enter into the lucrative Premier League market.

Ever since then, more and more football teams have signed deals with gambling companies.

In fact, since 2016-17 season, at least ten clubs have displayed a betting logo on their shirts’ sleeves or in front of their shirts and of the £349.1m raised from Premier League shirt sponsorship deals during the 2019-20 season, a substantial £68.6m came from gambling brands.

The sponsorship deals that happen today extend beyond the regular match-day kits.

Nowadays, there are sponsorship arrangements even for the training kits, with clubs like Leicester City and Manchester City displaying certain betting brands only during their warmup and training sessions.

Beyond the kits, betting businesses pay hefty money for advertising on the pitchside perimeter, and at various other spots inside the stadiums and betting brands are clearly visible on the billboards as the action goes on the football pitch.

It’s not just the stands, even complete football stadiums have been named after well-known betting sponsors, such as the Bet365 Stadium, home of Stoke City.

Final word

Gambling organisations have laid very firm roots in modern-day football, and generate millions of pounds for the participating football clubs.

This revenue constitutes a key portion of the overall income earned by these clubs, and helps them scout the top talent that Premier League is well known for today.

Having said that, it can’t be denied that betting and football going hand in hand is a controversial topic, something that will continue getting discussed at all levels in the UK football going forward.

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