Who Will Replace Everton’s Betting Sponsor?

by   |   13/06/2024  0 Comments  [Jump to last]

English Premier League (EPL) football is a multi-billion dollar industry, and Everton alone contributes a massive £600 million (as of May 2023). With such a deep-rooted legacy in the sport as one of the founding members, the club has evolved and seen many greats come and go since 1878. Since its inception, football has become more than just a game – it’s become the world’s most popular sport, supported by wealthy owners, technological advancements, and commercialisation through sponsorships and TV broadcasting.

In 1978, the first shirt sponsorship came to fruition, and Coventry City proudly sported their ‘Big-T’ Talbot kit (British-French automobile company). Interestingly enough, they were banned from TV in the 1980s because of former sponsorship rules. It’s almost like we’re seeing history repeat itself with the recent gambling sponsor ban. That means all sorts of gambling platforms, like those found on casinos.com, won’t be seen on the front of the League’s shirts anymore.

The Premier League Gambling Sponsor Ban

While the Premier League isn’t entirely banning gambling sponsorships, they did voluntarily ban front-of-shirt gambling sponsorships in April 2023. Out of all European leagues, betting brands have a pervasive presence in the EPL. Approximately 35% of front-of-shirt sponsorship deals were betting brands in the 2023–2024 season. Sponsors can also be placed on the back of shirts, on shorts, training gear, and other areas of footballers’ kit, but a front-of-shirt placement has prime real estate thanks to its visibility.

Because of the expansive growth in the gambling industry, it’s only natural that clubs are hesitant to pass up these incredible partnership opportunities. The amount of funds that could contribute to the club and its contract renewals and player transfers is certainly appealing. However, we’ve already seen a league-wide ban on alcoholic beverage sponsors before 2017 for their potentially negative perception. Football clubs have drawn parallels with betting activities and have decided to reel back on these partnerships, with the ban set to begin just before the 2026–2027 campaign. As there was speculation that the UK government would incite a total ban on gambling ads altogether, Premier League teams banded together to agree on a front-of-shirt ban instead.

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Everton’s Stake.com Sponsorship

To kickstart the 2022–2023 season, Everton locked in a £10 million partnership with Stake.com – an online casino and sports betting platform. The Toffees men’s and women’s teams were to have Stake.com emblazoned on their shirts, as well as on other physical and digital assets. Stake.com is up and coming, with sponsorship deals with some of the biggest athletes and figures today. These include UFC fighter Israel Adesanya, footballer Sergio Aguero, Canadian rapper Drake, and others.

Although the sponsorship was extremely lucrative for the club, being the largest front-of-shirt partnership in its history, it didn’t come without criticism. In the face of so much talk about the unhealthiness and unfavourableness of gambling sponsorships in football, Everton’s grand announcement was seen as tone-deaf. It indicated that the team was potentially prioritising their profits over their fans and encouraging gambling and sports betting in tandem.

This discussion mirrored older ones surrounding the link between explicit lyrics and bad behaviour in our youth or video games and violence. In actual fact, Everton would be able to use their newfound funds to invest in all sorts of beneficial endeavours surrounding football, whether charity, stadium renovations, or trades, for instance.

With a few seasons left to play out before the ban is incited, many have wondered what Everton’s new sponsor will be. This grace period allows the club to make the transition, conclude their partnership, and knuckle down on new plans.

Everton’s Financial Turmoil

As Everton won’t be able to renew or renegotiate their partnership with Stake, this deal between them will become another financial blow that the club could do without. Since the release of their financial results from the 2022–2023 season, it became clear that the team was experiencing serious monetary losses. After taxes, they were losing a reported £89.1 million – over double the losses they saw in the previous season.

Because their finances were so disastrous in 2021–2022, they naturally breached the profitability and sustainability rules (PSR). Their finances in 2022–2023 thus meant that they breached the rules a second time in a row, causing them to face serious relegation in the League. What does this mean for Everton? If they are heavily reliant on sponsorship deals, the ban could cause serious disruption and worsen those financial issues. In turn, there could be a compounding of challenges and hardships, wreaking havoc on the club’s long-term stability and spending capabilities. While the love for the game is what keeps Everton alive, financial management is cardinal to survival. 

What’s Next for Everton?

Seeing as Everton had already formed a very lucrative seven-figure partnership with streaming platform Kick for the 2023–2024 season, it doesn’t seem likely that they’ll struggle to find a new front-of-shirt sponsor. It’s considered the highest-value sleeve partnership the team has ever done, and it even lets them grow their presence in the booming streaming and esports sectors. This could inspire plenty of entertainment, media, and esports companies, and potentially other football-relevant industries, such as health and wellness brands and sustainability partnerships, to follow suit. And with sleeve sponsorships researched to have 60% of on-screen time compared to front-of-shirt, gambling companies and Premier Leagues aren’t losing out anytime soon.

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