There has been a lot of bad press lately about the betting industry and its relationship with football clubs, not just in the UK but the football world in general. Of course the recent headlines surrounding high-profile players such as Joey Barton have put the spotlight on this relationship even further.
But Barton is not the only football betting related story to hit the headlines during the current season.Fans of Sutton United and quite possibly Arsenal fans too will remember the ‘Pie-Bet’ scandal, when Sutton’s heavyweight goalkeeper, Wayne Shaw, ate a pie on the touchline during the 2 nil FA Cup Fifth Round defeat against Arsenal at Gander Green Lane.
It later transpired that Shaw was aware that The Sun newspaper’s sports betting website had offered a price of 8-1 on Shaw eating a pie “live on air” during the BBC televised fifth round tie.
Of course the Football Associations rules around players and gambling on matches is well documented. But what sort of sponsorship role does gambling and betting companies have with clubs such as Swansea City and the Premier League as a whole.
It might surprise you to learn that exactly half of the Premier League clubs have shirt sponsorship deals that are provided by gambling brands from across the globe.
Both AFC Bournemouth and Crystal Palace are backed by the Gibraltar based Mansion Group and are sponsored by online casinos like Casino.com. The Mansion Group deals for the two clubs amounts to over £7m.
The sponsorship monies offered to Premier League teams from the betting industry during the 2016-2017 seasons alone is estimated to be worth over £35m. The most lucrative deal is rumoured to be the £6m offered to West Ham United and Sunderland by Betway and Dafabet respectively.
As for Swansea City well the current one year deal with front of shirt sponsor BetEast is reported to be worth £5m to the Swans, which is a sizeable amount given the size of the club compared to their Premier League rivals.
The Swans are no strangers to having betting companies as shirt sponsors. Between 2009-2013 including the clubs first season in the Premier League, they were sponsored by 32Red, whom currently sponsor Rangers and Leeds United.
Of course having a gambling or betting company sponsor the club’s official replica kit provides clubs with another opportunity for commercial income, due to advertising and marketing regulations in the gambling industry surrounding children.
Junior replica shirts cannot advertise any gambling or betting company brands, therefore there is the potential for the club’s commercial department to source a ‘child-friendly’ sponsor for the junior shirts.
All of this of course helps generate income, which can then hopefully be spent on strengthening the Swans playing squad.