Football and gambling companies seem like a match made in heaven, with just about every club being sponsored by a company of this nature. This wasn’t always the case however, so where did this all begin?
The state of the industry today
Right now, there are more gambling companies than ever sponsoring a Premier League team. They are the fifth largest investors in the sport and enjoy some of the most lucrative placements. On shirts, around the stadium and elsewhere, these logos are thrust in your face every time you watch football.
Where did it start?
Part of the boom in the sponsorship of these teams comes from the fact that other forms of advertising are so strictly policed. Casinos can only advertise their wares on television after the watershed, but appearing in these matches is one way that they can circumvent this.
We also have the fact that football is one of the most widely viewed sports, in the UK and beyond. The Premier League represents millions of potential viewers, just waiting to be served the ad for the company. Whether this actually translates into visitors to the site can be debated, as passive viewers may not even pay attention to them.
On a smaller scale, small operators of mobile and online casino tend to sponsor local or youth teams. Their reach on these advertisements is a lot smaller, but they can be more effective. They can even place their logos and banners on women’s football teams, as women make up a large portion of the gambling public too.
Can this continue?
Whether this kind of money and sponsorship is sustainable remains to be seen, as the industry is getting ever more competitive. There may well be a point at which the football industry has to put a halt to the infighting between companies. This would represent them turning down money however, so this may be unlikely to actually happen.
In the same way that there have been substantial crack downs on tobacco and alcohol advertising within sport, this may also come to the realms of casinos too. The dangers of all of these industries has been proven time and again, which has led to an eradication of them on the television. Formula 1 was once sponsored by hard liquor based companies, but they soon separated themselves from this image when the market began to change.
It all really comes down to what Advertising Standards and Ofcom decides to allow. It would just take one study or review into the number of children seeing these advertisements and they could effectively be axed. It won’t stop all at once, but there may be a gradual phasing out of these advertisers over time.
For now, we will continue to see the likes of these companies snapping up advertising real estate through the Premier League. In the next decade, this may change, but it won’t be an overnight state of affairs as teams won’t want to turn down that cash.