Is Premier League sponsorship a safe bet for gambling firms?

Is Premier League sponsorship a safe bet for gambling firms?

Thursday, December 10, 2015 Totally Gaming
Dafabet's sponsorship of Sunderland is one of seven deals between gambling companies and Premier League clubs

Gaming companies may be wasting their money by sponsoring English Premier League football clubs, according to a marketing academic.

Leah Gillooly, lecturer in marketing at Alliance Manchester Business School, told Marketing Magazine that there were too many gaming operators on top-flight clubs’ shirts, leading to saturation and dilution.

Gillooly also added that she believes gambling companies – who sponsor seven of the 20 Premier League clubs - are failing to fully exploit the opportunities created by their deals.

She said: “With so many gambling sponsors in English football, how many are getting the cut-through? The sponsorship market is now highly cluttered, making it very difficult for any one company to stand out from the crowd. 

“In a crowded market, the real benefit of brand recall really comes from activating the sponsorship. But too many gambling partners stop their investment at the point of signing the sponsorship deal, neglecting the opportunity to actually communicate that association and reinforce the link in the minds of fans.”

Gillooly pointed to the success of ‘activation partnerships,’ such as O2’s deal with England Rugby, which is seen to add value for fans, and Chelsea’s deal with Yokohama Tyres, which has helped the Premier League club to grow in the Asian market.

She also noted that none of the top six most lucrative shirt sponsorship deals in the Premier League are with gambling companies, who paid an average of £3.9m per year for their contracts, compared to the league average of £11.2m. Gillooly suggested that gambling firms are “targeting mid- and lower- table teams, probably hoping to get Premier League exposure without paying the premium of association with the top clubs”.

She said: “It’s not easy to find a company to cough up for a shirt sponsorship, and it would be naïve to suggest clubs should shun all future offers from gambling firms.

“But by thinking creatively about sponsorship packages, clubs could secure deals with add more than just financial value.”

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