Football sponsorship is simply massive business for those in the gambling industry, as it represents a clear way to get a product in front of a huge, largely relevant audience. With so many new restrictions on what is and isn’t acceptable in the iGaming arena, this has always been something of an old reliable.
However, UK teams may be forced to end these sponsorship agreements if international news is anything to go by.
A Ban on Italian Sponsorship
Italy is the latest country to put an end to this kind of sponsorship. Their teams are now no longer allowed to display sponsorship of online bookmakers, which has created a massive protest. The teams feel that this impacts their ability to be able to get those that pay the most to sponsor their shirts.
The business of football sponsorship is worth a lot of cash for the teams, as well as the operators in question. Simply put, if it wasn’t valuable for them to sponsor the teams, they wouldn’t do so. The Serie A has openly criticised this move, as they feel it impacts the teams unfairly. On an international stage, this may mean that Italian teams have less scope to make money than others.
This could then lead to a handicapping for their teams, as they wouldn’t have the same financial powers as others. It’s an incredibly complex issue, which encompasses teams, fans, regulators and brands alike.
Similar Rumours in the UK
This isn’t the first time such a ban has been banded around, as MPs have debated this in the UK too. It seems that placing such an emphasis on bookmakers and casino brands has caused a light to be shone on football sponsorship as a whole. This is very much part of the overarching conversation about what is and is not appropriate in terms of advertising.
We’re seeing debates on TV advertising, the watershed and more surrounding the UK iGaming industry. As the debate reaches a fever pitch, more of these brands could have restrictions placed upon them in future.
It’s clear that underage gambling numbers have created a lot of panic in the industry, surrounding the way in which gambling is advertised. While there is a case to be made that some children will view these matches, it’s unclear whether it actually contributes towards their likelihood to gamble for themselves.
As the UK Gambling Commission and ASA continue to look for ways in which to reduce those numbers of underage gamblers, football sponsorship may well be the next step. In the past, we’ve seen liquor and cigarette brands being banned from sponsorship of these events, could gambling be the next to face the same fate?