Are betting company sponsorships a legitimate way for clubs to generate revenue or is it unethical? Football is one of the World’s most popular sports, with millions of fans tuning in to watch their favourite teams compete. However, there has been some debate in recent years about the presence of betting companies on football shirts.
The rise of Premier League betting company sponsors
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed a fair number of gambling sponsors this Premier League season. The matches haven’t stopped, with Match of the Day displaying gambling logos for 71-89% of its runtime. Gary Lineker doesn’t even get that much airtime. The Premier League have a numerous amount of teams this season with betting logos on the front of match kits, here a few examples.
West Ham – Betway
Fulham – W88
Newcastle – Fun88
The Pros of Betting Companies on Football Shirts
- One of the primary arguments in favour of betting companies on football shirts is that it can provide clubs with much-needed revenue. A sponsor can help teams afford better players, better facilities, and better training in a sport where money is often tight. This can lead to a better on-field product and greater success for the club.
- Gambling companies can provide fans with a more engaging experience. Many companies offer promotions, free bets, and other incentives to encourage fans to bet on games. This can add an extra level of excitement and engagement to the sport, particularly for fans who may not be die-hard supporters of a particular team.
- Another argument is that gambling companies are legal and regulated, and they provide entertainment for millions of people. Betting on sports is a popular pastime in many countries, and having a betting sponsor on a football shirt is seen as just another way to engage fans.
The cons of Betting Companies on Football Shirts
- Despite the benefits, many people believe that having betting companies on football shirts is unethical. One of the most serious concerns is the effect it may have on young fans. Football is a popular sport among people of all ages, and having gambling companies as shirt sponsors could help to normalise gambling among children and teenagers.
- There are concerns about gambling’s negative social impact on individuals and communities. Addiction to gambling is a serious problem that can lead to financial ruin, mental health issues, and other problems. The presence of a betting sponsor on a football shirt may be interpreted as encouraging this behaviour and encouraging people to gamble irresponsibly.
- There is the perceived conflict of interest. Some may argue that if a football team is sponsored by a betting company, there is a conflict between the team’s goal of winning games and the sponsor’s goal of getting people to bet on games. Even if no match-fixing or other unethical behaviour exists, this could lead to accusations of it.
- In conclusion, the debate over betting companies on football shirts is a complex one. While there are certainly benefits to having a sponsor, there are also concerns about the impact it can have on young fans and the promotion of gambling. Ultimately, it is up to individual clubs, leagues, and governing bodies to decide whether or not to allow betting companies as shirt sponsors.
What the fans think of betting company sponsors
Okay, so we could sit here all day going over numbers. You get it, a lot of football shirts these days feature gambling sponsors. There’s no need to go on and on about it.
But what do fans think of betting sponsors?
Despite their differing reasons, 45% of fans say they strongly oppose betting sponsors being banned. This was a very popular opinion among older fans, with 59% of those over the age of 45 wanting to impose a ban, but only 30% of those under the age of 34 agreed.
Fans were less adamant about avoiding shirts with gambling logos, but 29% is still a surprisingly high number of lost sales. Once again, these shirts are a much bigger issue for fans over 45, with 41% saying they’d refuse to buy one, compared to 16% of fans under 45.
In contrast, only 17% of fans (mostly men under 34) said they were pleased with gambling sponsors, while 26% said they didn’t care who sponsored their team.
Despite previous controversy, opinions on alcohol sponsors aren’t as strong, possibly because they’ve been out of the spotlight for so long. 25% of fans want them to be officially *ahem* canned, with the majority of these respondents also favouring a ban on gambling sponsors.
What’s next for football shirt sponsors?
Clubs and leagues can take steps to reduce the negative effects of betting companies on football shirts. They could, for example, require sponsors to include responsible gambling messaging on their shirts or limit the amount of space available for sponsor logos. These safeguards can help to balance the benefits of sponsorship with the need to protect fans and the sport’s integrity.
In the end, the decision to allow betting companies on football shirts is a difficult one, and there are valid arguments on both sides.
Will football teams begin to take inspiration from rugby sponsorship?
Will clubs and leagues take it one step further and ban alcohol sponsorship?
These questions are yet to be answered but to secure much needed revenue teams could turn to monetisation tools as an alternative to sponsorship from betting and alcohol companies.