Not a Fan: UK Soccer Viewers Don’t Want Gambling Sponsorships, Says Survey
The English Premier League is one of the most-watched soccer leagues in the world.
It amasses millions of viewers each week from a very global market and has some of the world’s most recognizable brands competing, such as Manchester United and Liverpool FC.
That global appeal has long been an attractive proposition for gambling companies, including casinos and sports betting operators.
Out of the 44 teams in the top two English divisions last year, 26 of them – over half – had gambling shirt sponsors. This figure rises to 75% if you include advertising partners and other deals.
Some of those companies don’t even offer sports betting – only online casino gambling. Others aren’t available in the UK casino market at all, such as recently-relegated Norwich’s shirt sponsor, Dafabet.
According to a new poll from UK-based Survation, over 50% of British soccer fans think that there are too many gambling sponsorships in the game today.
Further, a worrying 66% of fans believe that there are too many gambling advertisements played during televised games.
That’s despite the Betting and Gaming Council’s initiative last year, which imposed a self-set embargo on TV advertising during games before 9 pm.
Also worryingly, 44% of fans supported a complete ban on all gambling advertising connected to soccer. Only 34% disagreed with that same statement.
In the US, newly legal gambling companies are promoting themselves as ideal sports team sponsors because they increase fan engagement.
The UK has featured legal sports betting for over half a century now. This new survey seems to suggest that a majority of British soccer fans aren’t feeling the engagement right now.
In fact, 34% of fans said they wouldn’t purchase their team’s new shirt if it had a gambling sponsorship logo on it. This could carry serious revenue implications for some smaller clubs.
However, it’s important to note that this survey was commissioned by a group called The Coalition Against Gambling Ads. Of course, Survation is trusted to eliminate bias in the questioning, but you never know where something might slip through.
Still, over 50% of top teams in the country having gambling sponsors is not the most defensible position to be in.
This new report is only one part of the squeeze being put on the Premier League over gambling sponsorships.
Former England and Arsenal soccer captain Tony Adams is another high-profile ex-player with a cautious message to spread about gambling.
His addiction charity for ex-sportspeople, Sporting Chance, has this week revealed it is seeing more problem gamblers than people addicted to alcohol and drugs.
“We’re concerned about the amount of gambling exposure our clients are faced with when returning to their professional environment, both while receiving and after completing treatment,” a Sporting Chance representative said in an open letter.
However, they continued to say that “we must be careful not to sacrifice our sports’ financial stability in pursuit of worthy political headlines.”
This was echoed by the BGC, who was quick to remind the public that “betting sponsorships provide clubs with funding, as well allowing TV channels to show a wider range of sports.”
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