It can no longer be denied, sports sponsorships have undergone a serious transformation in the past few decades. It was during the 2009-10 season that we began to see the explosion of non-European gambling operators sponsoring the top tier Europeans teams and leagues, a time frame that seems to coincide with the start of the financial crisis in the Old Continent.
But what’s even more interesting is that most of these gamers are based in Asia and in the Barclay’s League, about 1/5th of the 20 teams are receiving lucrative sponsorships from operators like Genting Internet Casino which is joined forces with Aston Villa for two consecutive years as the main shirt sponsor of the football club.
What used to be a simple marketing trick that helped build brand awareness has evolved into a complex business platform that generates 40 billion pounds every year. This industry is so profitable that even smaller gambling sites, are interested in sponsorship opportunities.
While all of this sounds great, there is a problem looming in the midst. The recent match-fixing scandal that took place in Italy and led to the arrest of Stefano Mauri and Omar Minalenetto has caused some rumblings. For instance, is it legal for bookmakers to sponsor the teams that their customers are betting on in the English Premier League? The short answer to this question is yes, especially when you consider the morality clauses in the contracts between the two parties.
Most of these contracts clearly state that both parties must avoid places that may negatively impact them. In this way, these contracts are no different than the ones signed by big corporations and football clubs. Basically the contracts state that if any of the parties were to get involved in any unsavory activities, both parties will have a lot to lose.
In addition, even though the match-fixing scandal was surprising, it is not the norm. Thus, it is important to remember that football is about passion and most players will not willingly throw their lives away for profits in the short term.
It’s also important to note that various surveys have shown that football fans tend to trust the sponsors from their favorite teams. Furthermore, fans are more excited and willing to place a bet on their favorite team, if a certain gambling parlor or casino happens to be one of the team’s sponsors.
Written by Gareth McGray