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Growing Ties between Professional Football and Online Casinos

In 1998, not a single football club in Europe’s top leagues was sponsored by an online casino. Things changed in the 2000s when Fulham agreed on a sponsorship deal with betting firm Betfair. By 2016, half of the English Premier League clubs were sponsored by a bookie company.

At the start of the 2018/19 season, online casinos were sponsoring football clubs in all major leagues around the world. In every country where betting is legal, there is a bookie company sponsoring local football clubs. 

Why are football clubs all over the world increasing ties with online casinos? What do the bookies gain by splashing millions to have their names appear on jerseys?

Purest Form of Advertising

Sponsoring a sports team is one of the most effective forms of advertisement. The bookie places its name on a jersey purchased by millions of people. Football fans view the label every time they watch their team play. They are reminded of the online casinos whenever they want to bet. Better yet, the advert is unobtrusive.

If you are like most people, you probably hate obtrusive TV ads. Some people change channels every time an annoying ad appears. On the Internet, you can always close a tab with an annoying ad. With clubs sponsorships, adverts are the opposite of annoying. 

Sponsoring a major football club exposes your online casino to millions or even hundreds of millions. Think of EPL club jersey sponsors. The Premier league is viewed by more than 100 million people around the world. If only 1% of the viewers are interested in the advert, you have one million customers to your bookie site. 

Targeted Marketing

Sponsoring football clubs promotes a casino's brand to the exact targeted audience. A bookie's audience is sports fans and bettors. As opposed to advertising on TV, online casinos reach a wider audience by placing their ads where the targeted audience is likely to see them.

Targeted ads like sports sponsorships are twice as effective as unilateral adverts. According to statistics, 1000% more people search a brand when it’s advertised to the right audiences. Imagine the benefits betting firms gain by sponsoring clubs supported by millions of viewers.

Some online casinos sponsor two, three or ten clubs like Bet365 did in La Liga. The British bookie firm will have its name appear in half of the top Spanish clubs. For a league viewed by more than 10 million people every week, the company is set to make millions in revenues.

Clubs Earn Millions

Football clubs get a big chunk of their annual revenues from jersey sponsorships. In the premier league, the top sides earn up to €10 million a year to have a casino's name appear on players' jerseys. Take Bournemouth, for example. The club earns about €3.8 million every year from the M88 online casino. Burnley earns about €3 million a season from Dafabet, the Philippines’ based betting company.

Crystal Palace is on a €7 million plus multiyear deal with betting firm ManBetX. Everton's deal with Sportspesa is worth more than €10 million while New Castle earns more than €7 million per season from Fun88, an Asia based betting casino.

While sites like make money attracting millions of football fans, the clubs earn millions in sponsorship deals. Everyone wins. Football fans are exposed to new casinos. Clubs make more money while the casinos advertise their brands to the proper audience. 

Emotional Association

Some club sponsors don’t do it to promote their brand names. Instead, they pay millions because football fans tend to develop emotional associations with their club sponsors. A recent study puts the emotional bias toward club sponsors increases by 8.5%. The intent to buy products from the sponsor increases by up to 9%s, which is a phenomenal achievement.

Think of brands like Betfair, Sportspesa, Fun88, and Dafabet. Betfair sponsors half of La Liga clubs despite being one of the most popular online casinos in the world. The company doesn’t need more brand awareness. But with competitors pouring millions to sponsor the same clubs, Betfair had to invest heavily to be the major brand in the country.

Funn88 targets Asian bettors. But with the brand sponsoring an EPL clubs, the company is likely to gain a better emotional response from Asia-based bettors. The same applies to Sportspesa, whose main customers are East Africa-based.

PR-Community Goodwill

Online casinos do more than pay to appear on jersey names. They actively participate in community events to foster goodwill with sports fans. In the small leagues, casinos sponsor players to get training from major clubs. They buy gifts for sports fans during the holidays or show their support to ailing bettors.

Because both the casinos and clubs participate in community activities, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Football clubs that are active in community activities gain more fans than those that don’t. 

Bookies that support community initiates get more emotional association, which turns to more customers on their websites. A recent study shows that 74% of people say they are highly likely to buy a service from a brand that sponsors community events. In essence, people don’t just buy because of adverts. They stick to a brand if they consistently prove they care about their customers.

More Effective in the Long Run

One reason online casinos don't advertise for a season and go is that they begin to reap benefits in the long run. Unlike traditional advertising, sports sponsors don't directly persuade fans to bet on their casinos. They simply buy the rights to have their names appear on jerseys. 

While not a persuasive way to get customers, sponsorships add the effect of association. The association takes time to settle among fans, which is why casinos stick with football clubs for many years. Making fans want to buy products sold by their favorite club sponsors is a psychological move that takes years to succeed. When done properly, it’s more effective than any alternative form of advertising.

To Conclude

Like any form of advertising, sports sponsorships benefit both the sponsors and the football clubs. The franchises earn millions in revenue. The sponsors get to advertise their products to the right audience. With digital media growing rapidly, online casinos are fast becoming the big sponsors. 

As more countries legalize gambling, online casinos are splashing millions to seek association with football clubs. So far, the advertising model is effective, meaning we will likely continue seeing online casinos associate with football clubs more.