Front of Shirt Gambling Partnerships Lose Some Ground in Europe

Partnerships with gambling companies continue to dominate the front of Europe’s elite soccer clubs’ t-shirts, a new study by Research & Markets has found out, citing evidence of a strong presence of such partnerships in at least 15 European soccer leagues. 

Even though gambling regulation has tightened across the continent, there seems to be a good number of clubs that still have one. An estimated 51 of the sampled 244 clubs have a front-of-shirt deal with gambling companies or 18 more than any other sector, and 11 more compared year-over-year.

Another Run of Partnerships Through 2022 

These partnerships are signed for the 2021/2022 season. The survey found out that companies focus on the highest-ranked divisions in European soccer, which gives gambling companies the biggest share of exposure. According to the research, such deals prove to be the most lucrative to gambling brands:

“Front-of-shirt partnerships are often the most lucrative deals within a club’s commercial partnerships portfolio given the exposure they generate due to the prominent nature of the branding.”

Research & Markets

Through similar partnerships, gambling firms can establish a recognizable name and inspire trust in sports fans while clubs themselves benefit from the financial side of the deal, pushing the brand with their fan bases which are often passionate and inclined to place the occasional flutter. 

According to Research & Markets, teams in England, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany collectively earn an estimated $1.2 billion from these kinds of partnerships. The Premier League delivers on $450.54 million alone.

However, teams are feeling pressure from regulators, as front-of-shirt deals have shrunk by 4.9% since last season from $1.37 billion previously based on data provided by UEFA’s Country Coefficient. 

A Hotly Debated Topic Still 

Front-of-shirt deals have been a hotly debated topic and coming under crossfire from the public and legislators. When the pandemic hit, and it was first suggested to suspend such deals, many within the world of sports objected, arguing that it would deplete clubs’ purses and endanger their survival.

Some as Boreham Wood FC have welcomed partnerships while others have foregone them. Presently, public sentiment towards such partnerships is not overwhelmingly positive. While teams in some jurisdictions have found it harder to cooperate with gambling companies, they have been able to strike deals abroad and advertise a brand in Asian and Latin American markets, for example. 

While the debate continues, the validity of such deals remains, but so does consumer and regulators’ concerns about focusing too heavily on the gambling element. Western Sydney Wanderers recently reaffirmed their commitment to responsible gambling, urging fans to focus on the sport and not so much on gambling. 

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