Betting Companies Strike Football Sponsorship Deals

Two leading European betting companies have continued to strengthen their links with high profile football clubs, despite the generally hostile sponsorship climate in many European countries.

Betway has lined up a sponsorship extension with Spanish club CD Leganes which will see the gambling firm continue as the club’s main sponsor for the new season, while fellow gambling operator W88, which previously had a deal with Aston Villa, has signed up with another Premier League club, Crystal Palace, to provide shirt-front sponsorship.

The deal between Betway and Leganes was originally signed in 2018, but the football sponsorship climate has become more difficult in Spain in recent months. The Spanish Ministry of Consumer Affairs is currently weighing up proposals which would toughen up regulations on betting firms, including new restrictions on sponsorship agreements and other forms of advertising exposure.

For that reason, the contract extension reportedly includes an exit clause which will trigger if the new Spanish government proposals come into effect next season.

Under the terms of the deal, Betway will continue to be the main front-of-shirt sponsor for the team. This deal was reputedly worth as much as €1 million while Leganes were in the top flight, though their relegation means it is likely to be less lucrative in the coming season.

Besides Leganes, there are seven clubs in La Liga which have a gambling company as their leading shirt sponsor, including Valencia, Granada, and Sevilla. All these deals will be under threat if the Spanish government successfully implements a ban on shirt sponsorship by betting companies. Such a ban already exists for youth teams in Spain.

There is currently no ban on gambling company sponsorship in the UK, and W88 have moved to secure a Premier League partnership, following the end of their £6.5 million one-year contract with Aston Villa. The new deal with Palace will see W88 replace ManBetX as main shirt sponsor at Selhurst Park, an arrangement that ran for three years.

But, as in Spain, the new deal could be overtaken by political events. Gambling companies operating in the UK have already voluntarily agreed to tighter advertising restrictions, but a House of Lords report recently proposed an end to all gambling sponsorship in UK sport. The UK government is also looking at a full review of gambling regulations in the country.

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