The Beautiful Relationship: How Football and Sports Betting Become Intertwined
Football and betting have developed an intimate relationship over the last decade. Ever since online gambling emerged in the early noughties, more clubs have embraced what’s become a multi-million-pound industry.
At the start of the 2020/2021 season, 20 Premier League clubs had the logos of betting companies on their shirts. These partnerships are paying dividends on both sides. West Ham, for example, receives £10 million per year from its sponsorship deal with Betway. The same operator also has deals in place with Real Betis, Levante UD and Deportivo Alaves. When Championship teams are taking into account, football clubs in England benefit to the tune of £350 million+ from betting sponsorships.
Like all profitable business decisions, the synergy between football and sports betting is mutually beneficial. The average Premier League game regularly attracts over one million viewers. According to official data from the league, 16 games shown on Sky Sports attracted more than two million viewers in 2019. Across the board, viewing figures were up 12% during the 2018/2019 season, which means the logos of betting companies were seen by millions every week. This has helped turn UK online sports betting into a £2 billion+ industry. Thus, we can see that both football and the online sportsbooks have profited from their relationship.
Digital Innovations and Regulation Bring Football and Betting Together
How though, has the betting sector ensured football clubs want to be associated with it? We know there’s a growing desire to embrace digital innovations. Indeed, Nottingham Forest became one of the latest clubs to partner with a digital tech company in 2021. The aim of working with Urban Zoo is to make full use of digital tickets, drive up online sales and offer services such as live streaming. It isn’t just Nottingham Forest who have enhanced their website and mobile app in recent times. Every major club now has a team of digital experts who work on increasing fan engagement through the latest online innovations. Based on this, it’s easy to see why football clubs would want to partner with betting sites. However, the industry is sometimes viewed with suspicion by certain outsiders.
This is where the business of online betting has evolved. Today, the leading online bookmakers, casinos and poker sites feature state-of-the-art security and technology. Moreover, every legit operator that’s aligned with a football club is regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. This is an important piece of the puzzle and the reason clubs are willing to work with betting brands. The Gambling Commission is responsible for licencing all operators in the UK. Without a licence, a site isn’t legal. By implementing this system, the UK has created an industry that’s highly regulated. Everything from an operator’s software and odds to its promotions and payment options have to meet strict standards. In fact, this is something newbies to the industry are encouraged to look for.
Sportsbooks Take on the Same Status as Sports Companies
SBO is an online review and affiliate site that provides breakdowns of the best UK bookmakers. Each review provides details of an operator’s bonuses, their general MO, the software they offer and more. Users can then cross-reference this information with other reviews by using the onsite comparison table. SBO’s aim is to provide an accurate overview of the industry and guide consumers towards their ideal site. It’s the same sort of service you’d get in the car insurance business or the travel industry. However, in this instance, it’s online sportsbooks that are being compared. What this demonstrates, beyond the fact sports betting sites are thriving financially, is that it’s a legit industry. Operators not only have to abide by strict laws but compete for business. This raises the bar in terms of quality which, in turn, legitimises the industry. That’s why football has been willing to embrace sports betting partnerships. Yes, it’s a rapidly growing industry that generates billions of pounds in revenue every year.
Yes, the top online sportsbooks are on the cutting edge of digital technology, which is a sector football wants to embrace. However, beyond all of this, gambling has become a legitimate business. Through a combination of regulation, security features and competition, gambling operators are major businesses in their own right. This puts them in the same league as sports companies. Because of this, football clubs have partnered with Betway et al in the same way they would Nike, Adidas and Reebok. Now they’re interlinked in such a way that both are able to build off of each other. Football clubs now get more exposure online. Betting sites now get more exposure on TV and in the mainstream media. Add to this auxiliary benefits such as cross-promotions and more services for fans to engage with and it’s easy to see why the two industries have forged a beautiful relationship in recent years.