A Massive 50% of Premier League Teams Find Sponsorship through Sportsbooks!

About the expert:

Dainis Niedra is a professional betting and gambling manager. He has previously been the director of an entertainment complex, organized various poker tournaments and he was even the head of the Latvian poker federation.

Currently, Dainis is Enlabs' Managing Director of Center Eastern Europe (CEE). Enlabs owns the sportsbook Optibet, which is the largest betting operator in the Baltic States.

The Premier League is the most competitive soccer league in the world! Liverpool are the league's current champions! Even though the fight for the title (not officially, but...) was over even before the quarantine began, the league itself ended only last week. English soccer was represented by four teams out of the top eight in the Champions Leagues last season and the all-English finals of both major European club competitions made it fairly obvious to anyone that the English Premier League continues to be the most dominant league in the world of soccer.

The stronger the competition, the higher the talent of players and quality of games, and this is what drives such a huge interest from spectators and soccer fans. According to Hookit data (July this year), in terms of the number of followers and the level of connection with the audience, four Premier League clubs are listed in the top ten sports teams in the world (that’s including all sports). Sponsors are attracted by the spectators and fans, who are in turn attracted by the product itself: High-quality, entertaining soccer.

Throughout the season I followed the English Premier League games and "my professional eye" automatically began to pay attention to the betting sponsors, it became noticeable how sports betting has established itself over the years as the main industry supporting English soccer.

The UK is the main European market for sports betting. Once upon a time, there was an unwritten rule: if you exit a betting shop in London, you will likely see two more on the way out. 

In recent years, the amount of offline betting has been decreasing both naturally and through consolidation of large players in the local market. Logically, the internet has allowed the majority of sports betting to move online. I was interested to see how many local operators are using soccer teams to promote their brands because it occurred to me that maybe these kinds of advertisement work better for foreign sponsors?

The statistics of general sponsorship in the past season are startling. Betting has taken the center stage on the shirts of exactly half of the Premier League's 20 clubs. For comparison, three of the following major industries have two teams each:

  • Financial - “Liverpool” (Standard Chartered), “Brighton” (American Express);

  • Airlines - “Man City” (Etihad), “Arsenal” (Emirates);

  • Cars - "Man United" (Chevrolet), "Chelsea" (Yokohama).

At the same time, none of the top five soccer teams at the end of the season had a betting company as its main sponsor. If you look at the table below, almost all the clubs with a major sportsbook sponsorship remain at the bottom of the league table. The highest position is for the “Wolves”, who finished seventh in the league, securing a spot in the Europa League, next season.

This could be due to both the financial aspects of the deals and the additional restrictions that large clubs have.

Sponsorship is not always limited to just being the main shirt sponsor. You can be the sponsor of second or third level features as well. Also, specifically for betting companies, a subcategory of “official betting partner” was created, which, in order to maximize income, sometimes is also divided by region. For example, you can become the official betting partner of “Tottenham” in Africa or Latin America.

Some interesting facts:

None of the five largest UK betting operators are represented as general Premier League sponsors, and four out of five are not represented at the club level at all. Bet365 is the only declared as one of five (!!!) of Leicester City's sponsors.

- Yes, Leicester City F.C. has five sponsors from the same industry.

- Six teams have logos on their uniforms duplicated with Asian symbols: “Bournemouth”, “Burnley”, “Crystal Palace”, “Wolverhampton”, “Newcastle”, “Watford”. The goal is obvious - to communicate with the Asian market.

- Three brands with “Magic Eights” in their logo speak about the emphasis towards the Asian market: “Aston Villa”, “Newcastle” and “Bournemouth”.

- Despite being the English Premier League, the UK market is not the main market for any of the general betting sponsors (except for Betway, but it seems that in recent years they have been growing at the expense of other markets). Almost all betting operators that have become general sponsors are located and operating in different parts of the world - like Asia, India (Dafabet), Africa (Sport Pesa) or Latin America (Sportsbet.io).

- After the litigation around the partnership between W88 and “Wolverhampton” a few years ago, foreign operators are now trying to get a British license for the brand advertisement, in order to avoid legal problems.

ManBetX has two general sponsorships at once - “Wolverhampton” and “Crystal Palace”, plus their sister company has a sponsorship contract with “Arsenal”.

The logical conclusion: The Premier League has established itself not only as a top-tier league but also as a global brand. The British culture of betting and society's attitude towards this type of entertainment allows it to expand the list of betting partners and conduct interesting campaigns towards this market.

ClubBetting companyStatus
Norwich City F.C.DafabetGeneral sponsors
Watford F.C.Sportsbet.ioGeneral sponsors
A.F.C. BournemouthM88 / MansionBetGeneral sponsors
Aston Villa F.C.W88General sponsors
West Ham United F.C.BetwayGeneral sponsors
Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.--
Crystal Palace F.C.W88General sponsors
Newcastle United F.C.Fun88General sponsors
Everton F.C.SportPesaGeneral sponsors
Southampton F.C.UnibetSponsors
Burnley F.C.LoveBetGeneral sponsors
Sheffield United F.C.--
Arsenal F.C.Vbet / BetconstructSponsors
Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C.ManBetXGeneral sponsors
Tottenham Hotspur F.C.--
Leicester City F.C.Betway, Yabo Sports, W88, Bet365, 19.comSponsors
Chelsea F.C.--
Manchester United F.C.Yabo SportsSponsors
Manchester City F.C.MarathonBetSponsors
Liverpool F.C.--

* Top 5 British betting leaders:

  • Ladbrokes Coral - 30,000 employees; annual income (2019) - $3.2 billion;
  • William Hill - 16,000 employees; annual income (2019) - $2.2 billion;
  • Paddy Power - 8,000 employees; annual income (2019) - $2.3 billion;
  • Bet365 - 3,500 employees; annual income (2019) - $3 billion;
  • Sky - no data.