The English Premier League is one of, if not the biggest, sports property in the world. Dwarfing even the much-hyped NFL and the Super Bowl, the Premier League is broadcast in over 200 countries, reaching over 600 homes, and potentially over 4.7 billion people via TV.
As such, the kits that teams wear boast colossal reach as advertising platforms, which is where sponsors come into play. Now, teams can have main shirt and sleeve sponsors to increase revenue, with a long-standing favorite being gambling companies. However, a shift may be on the horizon.
Boasting the largest share of advertising real-estate in the Premier League, shirt sponsorships are incredibly valuable. To begin, this season — as you can see in this site’s research — nine of the 20 shirt sponsors were gambling firms, followed by financial services with four.
Shortly before the start of the season, Norwich City switched from gambling to local car manufacturer Lotus, leaving gambling with a 50 percent share of Premier League shirt sponsor placement. Of course, there’s also a place for sleeve sponsors, of which only Aston Villa’s sleeve sponsor hailed from the gambling industry.
While many sponsors simply seek exposure and positive brand association, gambling stands out as an industry that is relevant to the sport. Sports betting has been an associated part of the experience, particularly in the UK, for decades.
With the internet, sportsbooks have expanded into casino gaming, too, with the best sites for no deposit free spins primarily being a fan bet platform — check out these guys for more.
With so many sportsbooks integrating and promoting their casino games online, there’s an even larger product and more reason for gambling firms to bet big on a Premier League shirt sponsor. They’ll soon have some close competitors, however, with the emerging scene of cryptocurrency looking to gain some validity and exposure.
Cryptocurrencies will grow in prominence in the Premier League
The sheer volume of exposure and tremendous respect that Premier League clubs offer makes shirt and even sleeve sponsorship a viable marketing route even when the deals run into the multi-millions.
In England’s top-flight, cryptocurrency companies are already getting in on the action, but primarily as a sleeve sponsor or via a gambling piggyback.
For example, both Watford and Southampton have gambling platform shirt sponsors, but both companies specialize in gambling with various cryptocurrencies. On the sleeves, Watford has the infamous meme-coin Dogecoin while Wolverhampton Wanderers dons Bitci.com — a cryptocurrency exchange that offers sports-themed NFTs.
Clubs are becoming more openly tied to cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based digital assets. You can click here for the full story, but for the 2021 Spanish Super Cup final, FC Barcelona’s fan token — its own cryptocurrency — was to be burned by the tens of thousands per goal if Barça lifted the trophy.
This kind of stunt will only increase the likelihood of major clubs teaming up with crypto companies either strategically or as kit sponsors. In fact, blockchain platform Tezos was even willing to sponsor the Manchester United training kit, proving that even the more behind-the-scenes partnerships hold weight.
Gambling is the primary industry for English Premier League shirt sponsorships right now, in terms of the number of main sponsors, but there’s certainly a move being made by crypto companies.