Gambling sponsors have been present in the English Premier League for several years. As with other brands, it is common for soccer teams to make them visible on the uniforms (match-day shirts, for instance) that the players use during the events, allowing the general public to get to be in direct contact with the brands during the matches.
However, the sponsorships are deeper than that. Sponsorship deals allow gambling sponsors to generate more money through the game, as there can be special promotions on the platforms where people can take part and potentially earn a big jackpot.
In recent years, there has been a rise in the gambling sponsors present in the English Premier League. This is beneficial for both parties, as the companies generate money while football clubs earn income, allowing the evolution of the club and the sport itself.
Sponsorships in the English Premier League
It’s not rare to see gambling sponsors in the EPL. This has been happening since the year 1970 when local companies would sponsor the teams in exchange for more publicity. The sport then began growing, and now you can see the logos of big corporations on the shirts of teams in different parts of it:
- One common placement for the logos is the upper-centre area of the shit, allowing clear visibility for the brand.
- Sometimes, the club may have more than one sponsor (which is likely the case most of the time). In these cases, the logos may share spaces on the left and right side of the upper area of the chest (near the shoulder), while another logo may take part in the middle zone just below those two brands.
- Of course, all these placements depend on the club and the design utilized for that particular uniform. Those may change overnight, too.
- There are different sponsorship deals, but shirt sponsors are the easiest to recognize.
Mifinity, a leading payment solution provider, has also entered the arena as a key sponsor, providing clubs with secure and efficient financial transaction systems that not only boost operational efficiency but also strengthen the overall sponsorship ecosystem in the Premier League.
Starting from the 80s and 90s, the situation evolved, and now the sponsorships would depend on the size and success of the team. Thus, the more successful teams would have bigger sponsors, and that would give you an idea of the league where the team was playing. These sponsorships could range from sports brands to other companies.
Hence, in the modern era, gambling companies have become quite prominent in the English Premier League and many other leagues within the UEFA. This started to happen due to the generous investments these brands were contributing to the sports teams.
Gambling Sponsorships in the English Premier League
The primary investors in the EPL are gambling companies such as casinos and bookmakers. Only during the 2019-20 season were there only three teams that lacked the sponsorship of a gambling company. That means that 17 teams were receiving financial support from these brands, but only 10 of them were wearing the logos of such corporations on their shirts.
There has been opposition to gambling sponsorships for sports teams throughout the years. In April 2023, the use of front-of-shirt sponsorship for gambling companies was banned from the Premier League, with the ruling taking effect in the 2026-27 season.
That doesn’t mean that the deals will begin to disappear, though. According to reports by GlobalData, the annual value of these investments is $69 million, approximately.
The government of the United Kingdom has become stricter regarding the advertising of gambling services, including bookmarkers, sportsbooks, and casinos. While it undoubtedly will have a negative effect on the gambling companies as they won't have as much visibility as they did in the past, the deals will remain to be active, and there will likely be even more investors contributing to the EPL in the future.
How Do the Teams Benefit from Gambling Sponsorships?
There are multiple ways in which soccer clubs evolve and generate more revenue thanks to deals with gambling companies. Thanks to these deals, the teams can generate more income to evolve further and invest in their development, as well as cover the costs of the team’s activities.
The English Football Association (FA) has demonstrated its opposition to the gambling industry, which is why there have been several discouraging changes for these brands in the last decade. For instance, in 2017, the FA declined cooperation with any gambling-related business, and the recent front-of-shirt sponsor ban for gambling companies made the situation even more negative for the gambling industry.
However, soccer clubs are still able to choose where the sponsorships will come from. The authorities from the UK want to protect the younger audiences from the potential consequences of gambling, but the key role of this industry in the soccer world is undeniable. Thus, these deals will likely continue to exist for several years.
In conclusion, the presence and growth of gambling sponsors in the English Premier League is a multifaceted issue, bringing both benefits and concerns. Gambling companies have become key contributors to the league, helping to boost the clubs' financial capacities, which in turn supports the development and success of the teams. However, it has also led to increased scrutiny and criticism, with concerns primarily focusing on the potentially harmful impact of gambling advertising on younger audiences.
The UK government has responded by introducing stricter regulations, such as the ban on front-of-shirt sponsorships for gambling companies from the 2026-27 season onwards. While these changes will affect the visibility of these sponsors, it is anticipated that the sponsorship deals will continue due to the significant financial contributions they offer. In moving forward, both the football industry and the gambling companies will need to navigate the evolving landscape, balancing the financial benefits with the necessity of social responsibility.