In recent years, there has been a significant change in the way football shirts look, and not just because of the new materials, styles and colours being used.
The brands that sponsor football teams and shirts have a huge impact on that season's design, and in recent times we have seen a wave of new companies appear on home and away kits.
Instead of technology giants and car manufacturers, more and more shirts are being sponsored by online casino and sports betting brands.
Today, betting giants such as 32Red, bet365, Betway and Fun88 are sponsoring football teams and shirts in a bid to drive brand awareness among audiences around the world.
But why are so many online casino and sports betting brands opting to sponsor football shirts, and how much do these sponsorship deals actually cost?
First, let's look at some of the popular UK casino brands that are now appearing on the shirts of some of the world's largest football teams.
Betway and West Ham United:
Betway and West Ham first joined forces back in 2015 in what was the club's largest commercial partnership in its history at the time.
The partnership sees the Betway logo appear on the shirts of all of West Ham's senior teams, as well as on training wear and around the club's stadium.
Fun88 and Newcastle United:
Fun88 is a relatively new online casino and sportsbook brand that has been sponsoring Newcastle United's shirts for the past two years.
Just like Betway and West Ham United, when signed the partnership was Newcastle United's most lucrative to date, surpassing the previous deal it had with loan provider Wonga.
Bet365 and Stoke City:
It is perhaps no surprise that Stoke City is sponsored by bet365 – the family that owns the football club also owns the online sports betting and casino giant.
But the partnership goes beyond shirt sponsorship – the bet365 logo can be found around the team's ground – the aptly named bet365 Stadium.
32Red and Leeds United, Aston Villa, Derby County, Preston North End and Middlesbrough:
One of the most prolific shirt sponsors is online casino and sports betting brand, 32Red which appears on the shirts of five football clubs.
This includes Leeds United, Aston Villa, Derby County, Preston North End and Middlesbrough.
Why do they do it?
There are several reasons why online casino and sports betting brands sponsor football clubs and shirts, particularly those in the Premier League.
The English Premier League is watched by millions of people around the world thanks to the popularity of the game in the UK and beyond and also the global TV broadcast of matches.
Football fans fall into many different demographics and categories, but there is tremendous overlap between these and the people online gambling brands advertise and market to.
As a result, sponsoring shirts allows online gambling brands to directly connect with fans that are highly likely to engage with their products and services.
What's more, the exposure offered by shirt sponsorship goes way beyond reaching those watching the game in person or on TV with additional reach offered via:
- Shirt sales
- The club's own marketing activity
- Social media
- Video/mobile games
- News coverage
In addition to this, shirt sponsorship helps online casino and sportsbook brands foster trust among consumers as partnering with a big-name team adds tremendous credibility to their brand.
How much does it cost?
A lot. According to SportingIntelligence, Betway is spending upwards of £10 million per year on its sponsorship deal with West Ham.
Meanwhile, Fun88's deal with Newcastle United is estimated to be worth more than £6.5 million per year, while bet365 is thought to pay around £3.5millon per year.
These figures are undoubtedly high, but when compared to the brand exposure offered compared with other marketing channels such as TV and print, it offers tremendous value for money.
Should you choose an online casino because it sponsors a football team?
In a word, no.
When deciding which online casino to play at you should consider other factors such as whether the casino/sportsbook holds the required licences to accept players from the country you live in.
It is also important to take into account the responsibility of the operator, and whether they offer the tools you need to keep in control of your play.
Other things to consider include the variety of games/markets offered, the ways you can deposit and withdraw and whether the casino/sportsbook rewards your loyalty or not.
Choosing the right online gambling site for you can be tough, which is why we recommend using a comparison site such as Bojoko.
You'll no doubt spot most of the brands you see on the shirts of your favourite teams, but you will be able to learn more about them and what they have to offer.