If you think sports and gaming are in cahoots then you’re right my friend. From heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Joshua’s partnership with William Hill, to the partnership between Fox Sports and the Stars Group, there’s never been a better time to be in either industry.
If you look at modern-day football teams, you’ll find that a large portion of their sponsorship comes from major gambling operators. At the time of writing, almost 40% of the teams in the English Premier League count a betting company as one of their major sponsors. This means sports fans should expect to see the insignia of betting companies like Bet365 emblazoned on the playing shirts of premier league players throughout the season.
Some of the biggest spenders in the sports betting industry include Unibet, Betway and Spor Toto. The latter has invested over 23 million Pounds across five active sponsorship deals, while Betway has spent 18. 24 million and Unibet 17.8 million pounds in major sponsorship deals.
Read on for the latest news in exciting online gaming and sports sponsorship deals in the UK.
Online Gaming Sports Sponsorship Deals in the UK
Firstly, it’s worth noting that the esports industry raked in over $900 million last year alone, and has been touted as one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. Recent data shows that the industry is expected to reach an annual revenue milestone of $1.65 billion by 2021, with a majority of that revenue stemming from brand investment.
Stats show that 7% of the British adult population is made up of avid consumers of competitive video gaming content. This translates to a whopping 4 million people, and that’s just in the UK alone!
So, the marriage of online gaming and professional sports makes sense when you take these stats into consideration.
Here’s an outline of some of the most lucrative sports sponsorship deals in the UK, courtesy of the online gaming industry.
Online Gaming Sponsorship in the English Premier League
Football currently holds the largest piece of the pie when it comes to global sponsorship deals backed by major online gaming companies. Seventeen out of the 24 Championship League teams are sponsored by online gaming companies.
This goes for large, well-known teams like West Ham as well as smaller players like Crystal Palace, a relatively small team with a sponsorship deal with ManBetX worth a whopping £6.6 million per annum.
It’s worth noting that a majority of the online gaming companies backing Premier League football teams originate from Asia. Take Spor Toto, for example, which comes from Turkey.
Not to be outdone, Far East betting companies Fun88 and M88 are also getting in on the action. Fun88 has an ongoing deal with Newcastle United while M88 is one of the major sponsors behind Bournemouth.
Apart from making it to the big leagues, Wolverhampton Wanderes inked a major sponsorship deal with W88, an Asian online gaming company.
Plus, Burnley has an ongoing sponsorship deal with Laba360, a Chinese betting and online gaming company.
Other notable sponsorship deals include:
- Everton has an ongoing partnership with SportsPesa, a Kenyan gaming company. The deal won an award in the “Best African Sponsorship” category at the Sports Industry Awards in 2018 for being the most lucrative deal in the industry.
- The renowned betting company, Defabet is a major sponsor of Fulham Football Team.
- OPE Sports is a prominent shirt sponsor of the Huddersfield Town football team.
- Betways is reportedly investing over 10 million pounds in a shirt sponsorship deal with the EPL team West Ham. This is arguably the biggest single sponsorship deal backed by a gaming company in the entire league.
Online Gaming Sponsorship Deals in Boxing
Heavyweight champion of the world Anthony Joshua is currently a global brand ambassador for one of oldest bookmakers in the world, William Hill. Joshua will appear on the company’s social media campaigns and is a part of William Hill’s foray into the US market.
Although popular, the marriage of sports and online gaming remains controversial and widely unpopular among purists from both ends of the spectrum. But, it makes perfect sense when you think about it from an advertising point of view.
There has always been juxtaposition between gaming and sports fans, which is why these partnerships have been warmly received by the supporters of both industries. Top online casinos have always been known for attracting the patronage of big-time sports personalities like Mike Tyson and Michael Jordan.
Plus, getting your company logo emblazoned on the shirt of a massive UK football team means infiltrating one of the largest fan bases in the world. Keep in mind that millions of people follow these teams, many of which have grown to become institutions on the world stage.