Report: EPL shirts see USD 71 million investment from betting brands


August 23, 2023

As the 2023-24 Premier League season kicks off, the realm of front-of-shirt sponsorships takes centre stage. Among the 20 teams in the league, seven have forged significant partnerships with betting brands. This trend, backed by a noteworthy investment of USD 71.79 million (EUR 66.4 million) and a market share of 35 %, underscores the dynamic intersection of sports and commerce in the evolving landscape of football sponsorship, reports GlobalData, a data and analytics company.

GlobalData’s report, Business of the English Premier League 2023-24, highlights that Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Brentford, Burnley, Everton, Fulham, and West Ham United are all linked to shirt deals with betting industry brands. There remains a large presence in the market despite the looming ban of such industry deals ahead of the 2026-27 season.

The Premier League stands as the only top five European footbal league to boast a heavy influence from the gambling market. Spain’s La Liga enforced its ban on such deals ahead of the 2020-21 season, whilst the issue is not so widespread across France, Germany and Italy.

For the 2023-24 season, the only other two gambling-related shirt sponsorship deals across these leagues come via Montpellier and La Havre FC (French Ligue 1), which have deals with Paratouche and Winamax, respectively.

Jake Kemp, Sport Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Betting brands have become the big taboo of the soccer sponsorship market in recent years, following the ever-evolving cleanse of what is deemed acceptable on major kit branding. Front-of-shirt rights offer clubs the best opportunity to maximise their annual income, alongside kit supplier rights and for smaller clubs outside of the regarded ‘big six’ the income from these deals takes on even greater importance. Clubs find it difficult to pass up the opportunity to cash-in on the added value offered from betting brands. Clubs are aware of the importance of affiliating with the right type of brand but the sums on offer are just substantially more than what any other prospective brand-industry partner can offer.”

In previous decades, the English Premier League was inundated with brand partners within the alcoholic beverage brand sector until its official league-wide ban ahead of the 2017-18 season. Gambling brands filled the gap in the market in this respect, but that same negative sentiment/affiliation is being thrown on the gambling industry, as another sector which has major issues around addiction and advertising to underage fans.

In April 2023, the English Premier League announced that the same fate now awaits the gambling industry in shirt sponsorship rights across the league, set to be banned from the start of the 2026-27 season.

Despite the ban being announced, clubs have been given three more full seasons before it comes into force, enabling existing partnership contracts to be fulfilled. A three-year wait also means that clubs can, and have, signed new gambling-related shirt deals, as they look to capitalize on the added value coming from the rights.

Kemp concluded: “Heading towards the 2026-27 season, clubs will be looking at the next most profitable deals available to them. Cryptocurrency once appeared to be an obvious successor to the industry in terms of ability to sign vast deals at inflated prices but the buzz around crypto has since died, and that does not seem an automatic solution for all teams heading to this deadline. The financial services sector could prove to be the most fruitful, with heavy involvement in the space anyway, with five active deals this season, as well as a long-standing history of involvement in big sports sponsorship rights globally.”