Posted 12 months ago by Aaron Heera

Gambling on FFP to 'reinvent' Football Sponsorship

Screen Shot 2020 05 21 At 12

​When rumour first emerged that Wayne Rooney may be signed to Derby in the beginning of August - there was a sense of shock. Twitter reeled with surprise as he should be playing at a higher level. Then as the move edged into play, the conversation shifted to one of the hottest current topics in football: Financial Fair Play (FFP):

How can Derby afford this transfer?

The former England Captain will earn a reported £100,000 per week, more than a whole wage budget for some championship teams, and more than four times the average £20,000 per week for a championship player. Somehow Derby had attracted England’s all-time record scorer, and would be paying the salary well within their means…

#WR32

Then it happened and the move went through:

‘WAYNE ROONEY HAS JOINED DERBY COUNTY’

Rooney was no longer wearing his traditional number 10, but instead was holding a Derby County shirt with the number 32 on the back… Caption: #WR32. Something wasn’t right. In the coming hours, Derby owner Mel Morris revealed he was keen to “leverage Wayne’s Involvement” through their main sponsor, online betting company 32Red, who subsidised Rooney’s wage by offering the club a ‘record-breaking’ new shirt sponsorship deal.

32Red general manager Neil Banbury said: “This record-breaking sponsorship agreement is a significant step for us as we continue to reinvent the model of sponsorship”.

But the football community and gambling regulators remained unsettled with the thought that Derby Football Club used loopholes to continue commercialising the sport through gambling firms and taking shirt sponsorship to another level.

The Problem

The brand association built between gambling and football is already so prevalent for any child growing up and watching football. Gambling is consistently in the viewers’ face with adverts promoting the next goal scorer or Jeff and his team promoting the latest boost. The link is strengthened between banner ads, shirt sponsors, ads in the breaks, logos on match day problems and then big screen advertising in the stadium.

On top of this 61% of teams in the top two tiers are primarily sponsored by betting companies, and 45% have betting companies on their shirts. Which means throughout play, on close-ups of players, during interviews, gambling is arguably glamorised through association.

It is also more and more noticeable if you go to a match you will see people putting accumulators on before the game on phones or at the bookies in the concourses and at half time people checking their losses, going to the football is now goes hand in hand with sticking a few quid on. It’s clear that all levels of the ‘beautiful game’ is now being tarnished with bookies and gambling.

This will impact on the people watching and with gambling already a problem in society should this be allowed?

What is being done?

Not a lot… The powers that be have not spoke up about this, the TV networks have slightly restricted the adverts but not completely and the ‘When the Fun Stops Stop’ campaign has recently been found not to dissuade gambling. It has been left up to 3rd parties Paddy Power recently created a PR storm with the Huddersfield shirt, they initially had a huge logo on the front which shocked people and caused people to start bringing out guidelines saying this isn’t right. Paddy Power then revealed it was part of their campaign to ‘Save Our Shirt’ to have no sponsor’s on shirts and tried to get others to join them, amazing campaign but more marketing for a gambling firm…

What happens next?

The only way this will stop is for The FA, EFL or Premier League to get involved and put a ban on this sponsorship but will they? I personally can’t see it happening due to money, these gambling companies are cash rich and they are putting money into the game so it is better to turn a blind eye to problem and not acknowledge this. It is also more and more noticeable if you go to a match you will see people putting accumulators on before the game on phones or at the bookies in the concourses and at half time people checking their losses, going to the football is now goes hand in hand with sticking a few quid on. It’s clear that all levels of the ‘beautiful game’ are now being tarnished with bookies and gambling.

This will impact on the people watching and with gambling already a problem in society should this be allowed?

What is being done?

Not a lot… The powers that be have not spoke up about this, the TV networks have slightly restricted the adverts but not completely and the ‘When the Fun Stops Stop’ campaign has recently been found not to dissuade gambling. It has been left up to 3rd parties Paddy Power recently created a PR storm with the Huddersfield shirt, they initially had a huge logo on the front which shocked people and caused people to start bringing out guidelines saying this isn’t right.

Paddy Power then revealed it was part of their campaign to ‘Save Our Shirt’ to have no sponsor’s on shirts and tried to get others to join them, amazing campaign but more marketing for a gambling firm…

What happens next?

The only way this will stop is for The FA, EFL or Premier League to get involved and put a ban on this sponsorship but will they? Teams need to observe the audience that they’re truly targeting, the family investment in the games and take some consideration to those that their impacting.

Personally I can’t see it happening due to the influx of money, these gambling companies are cash rich, but money into the game, so teams can have better stadiums and talented players. But what’s the true cost fans pay for their support?