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How the football sector is bringing the betting world on to the pitch

 

Placing a bet has long been part of enjoying the game of football for spectators.

 

In the UK, this may mean the long-established, government-sponsored activity of ‘doing the pools’ or visiting the local betting shop to place a wager on the outcome of the big match. Increasingly, however, football betting is moving online where it can attract a global customer base.

 

Online betting

 

The increase in popularity of online betting in the global market has also inevitably made competition fiercer. This in turn means that betting companies need to focus and spend more money on advertising and promotion, and those operating online also need new ways to attract visitors.

 

A substantial portion of the large sums betting companies can now make from football and other sports is actually now being ploughed back into the game in the form of sponsorship deals.

 

Global popularity 

 

Football is the most popular sport in the world and the English premier league is the most-watched league worldwide.

 

One reason for this is that the premier league includes players from all around the world, meaning that viewers in their home countries feel a personal stake in whether a particular team is doing well. 

 

The premier league is particularly popular in the growing Asian market. In China alone, over 300m football fans watch premier league matches on free-view TV.

 

Asian betting companies began sponsoring premier league clubs from 2009 on, offering impressive financial support in return for having their brand on the club’s shirts.

 

Mutually beneficial 

 

For both sides it was a great deal. The clubs got much-needed money to spend on signing players and maintaining infrastructure as the premier league morphed into a multi-million pound business.

 

The betting companies meanwhile had their logo beamed into millions of homes around the world where viewers were watching the team’s matches, as well as to the fans packing out the stadiums.

 

Of course, the betting industry is not the only one involved in sport sponsorship, and indeed lags behind other sectors like sportswear, financial services and telecommunications in terms of total money spent.

 

There are also sometimes legal and ethical hurdles to overcome in countries where gambling is disapproved of or is banned. Nevertheless, the betting sector has an intrinsic relationship to football in a way that phone companies can’t quite claim.

 

Original content

 

On the other side of the fence, betting websites are increasingly making use of football-based content to attract visitors and to improve their customer experience. This includes the use of live data and statistics on matches, the latest results, plus news, analysis and opinion.

 

Engaging content of this type is also seen to ‘legitimise’ a betting site. With so many different sites in existence, the importance of finding a trustworthy bookies that also offers the best odds can’t be overstated.

 

Although 70% of football fans worldwide watch the premier league, betting sponsorship extends to football in other countries too. The number of betting sponsors in the top five European football markets – that’s the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain – grew from just one in 2002-03 to 36 in 2010-11.

 

This is surely set to increase further in coming seasons.