In the last few years, football club sponsorship has become big business for both live and online gaming companies.
Some companies are big players and spend millions for the rights to have their names displayed on a football jersey.
Others have side deals more focused ontheir services, but either way football and gambling are an increasingly popular marriage.
As you can see from the list below, there's no shrotage of football clubs that currently have deals with gambling companies.
Premier League Sponsorships
The English Premier League has several teams with ties to either live or online gambling companies.
- Manchester United pulled off a huge coup in 2011 when bwin.Party signed on as its shirt sponsor. bwin had been the long time sponsor of Real Madrid but legal issues with Spanish gaming authority CODERE forced the company to end its association and leave for the Red Devils.
- Aston Villa is currently sponsored by Genting Casinos, one of the largest casino operators in the world. The company became the shirt sponsor with the club starting in 2011.
- West Ham United has a jersey sponsorship in place with online gaming site SBOBET. Their deal began in 2008 and has remained in place until present. SBOBET is known as a leader in Asian sports betting.
- Stoke City is one of the oldest clubs in the Premier League and currently has a jersey sponsorship deal with bet365.Their deal began in 2012 and the club proudly displays the bet365 logo on its jersey.
- Wigan Athletic is currently in the Premier League but needs to improve its position this season if it hopes to stay there. The team currently is sponsored by 12Bet.com after a stint with rival online site 188Bet.
- Arsenal is also in a partnership with an online gaming company but not as a shirt sponsor. Betsson signed an "official gaming partner" contract with the company and handles many of the gambling related matters with the club. Betsson was formerly on bwin.Party owned network Ongame until the network was sold in late 2012.
- Everton has a similar agreement with online site Paddy Power. The online site provides services for the club in the UK and Ireland. The deal will last over the next two seasons.
- Liverpool may be the most active football club in regards to online sponsorships. It currently has deals with three companies. The first is with 188Bet, a company that was the global betting partner for the club but is now just its international partner. Liverpool also has a deal with Paddy Power for its UK, Italian, and Irish markets. Finally, the club signed a deal in October with Turkish site Misli.com.
Other Teams and Organizations With Gaming Sponsors
- Famed UK bookmaker William Hill may have the largest sponsorship deals in all of football. It signed a deal with the English Football Association that sees it as the official betting partner of both The FA Cup and the English National Team. In addition to supporting the English National Team, it signed a similar deal with the Scottish National Team and the Scottish FA and will become the title sponsor for the Scottish Cup. Both deals will last through the FIFA World Cup in 2014.
- The Eredivisie football league in the top football league in the Netherlands and the 7th best league in the world according to UEFA. Since the 2005-06 season the league has been sponsored by the Vriendenloterij lottery. However, due to legal reasons the lottery cannot be attached in name to the league.
- Calvin Ayre and Bodog sponsor small Scottish Football League squad Ayr United. The Honest Men were founded in 1910 and Ayre hopes to be able to make the club an international brand.
As you can see from above, football sponsorship has become big business for many live and online gambling companies.
Unfortunately, some leagues such as Major League Soccer are shut out to these companies. The MLS specifically prohibits online gambling sponsors, but if laws are changed in the United States this could change.
These partnerships make sense for both sides since sports betting for many is part of the overall experience of being a fan of a club.
As laws in other countries are relaxed and gambling becomes more accepted by the general public, you will see more of these deals reached as football clubs look for more ways to bring revenue in to improve their squads.