August 9, 2023 3 min read

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UK: Gambling Firms Continue to Hold Leadership Role in Soccer Sponsorships

A new study reveals that despite the upcoming ban on front-of-shirt gambling sponsorships, gambling operators hold the biggest share of such deals in soccer

Although English Premier League (EPL) clubs showed support for a voluntary front-of-shirt gambling sponsorships ban earlier this year, the gambling sector still holds a leadership role within the sector. New research released by Caytoo reveals that the Customer Service sector, which is where gambling operators are positioned as a sub-sector for front-of-shirt sponsorships, was overtaken by the Industrial sector.

The study probed soccer, rugby as well as cricket teams in England, uncovering that the Industrial sector now accounts for some 14.5% of front-of-shirt sponsorships within the 225 teams that were analyzed recently. This percentage represents 1 in every 7 front-of-shirt sponsorship deals in favor of the Industrials sector. The result points to a 10% year-over-year increase and a staggering 60% increase for the last four years.

Judging by the recent study, Customer Service still holds a strong presence as the second most popular sector for front-of-shirt sponsorships with a 12.7% share. While a decrease was observed when it comes to Customer Service sponsorship deals, which include the gambling sub-sector, it remains prevalent within soccer front-of-shirt sponsorships.

Some 15.4% of soccer front-of-shirt sponsorships are attributed to the gambling sub-sector, with only 4.9% and 0.03% for cricket and rugby respectively. In contrast, Industrials’ front-of-shirt sponsorships are most common within rugby and cricket.

Little Change, despite Voluntary Gambling Front-of-Shirt Sponsorship Ban

Alex Burmaster, Caytoo’s head of research and analysis, explained that the rise of Industrial sponsorships was propelled by the sub-sector of Materials/Chemicals companies. He explained that such companies were not represented last year, but their addition helped grow sponsorships within the Industrials segment. “It’s a relatively unsexy category, so one that is often overlooked by the biggest sports teams,” Burmaster outlined, explaining that sports teams do not proactively seek an Industrials company as a sponsor but rather focus on cars, online services or watch brands. Still, he did not rule out more Industrials front-of-shirt sponsorship once the gambling sponsorship ban takes effect.

The ban on front-of-shirt gambling sponsorships, which comes into effect in three years, plus the increasing outcry from fan groups on such deals has had almost no impact over the last year.

Alex Burmaster, head of research and analysis at Caytoo

Despite the planned front-of-shirt gambling sponsorship ban, Burmaster said that it had little to no effect judging by the recent results when compared to last year. The ban is expected to start with the 2026-2027 season, allowing sports teams to transition or complete their existing deals.

Yet, Caytoo’s head of research and analysis said that more than one-third of Premier League teams continue to have a gambling front-of-shirt sponsor and that marks “only one fewer than a year ago.” Finally, Burmaster said that this trend confirms that sports clubs will continue to benefit from gambling sponsorships until they are no longer allowed to by law.

Journalist

Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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