What Does Fulham’s Sponsorship Deal with SBOTOP Show About Premier League Clubs and Gambling Sponsors?

Premier League football club Fulham recently announced a deal with betting site SBTOP ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Fulham are entering their second consecutive season in the Premier League after a strong 2022/23 campaign. The club has partnered with SBTOP – a global online gaming and sports betting operator with platforms in several countries.

As part of the partnership, Fulham’s kits for the upcoming Premier League season will have SBTOP logos on the men’s first team kit. Moreover, the SBTOP branding will appear on the sleeves of training kits.

The deal comes just months after the Premier League clubs voted to withdraw gambling sponsors from the front of matchday shirts. Ultimately, the new partnership shows that Premier League clubs are willing to stick with gambling sponsorship and the revenue it brings, despite the upcoming rule changes.

What Are the New Changes Between Gambling Sponsors and Premier League Clubs?

In April 2023, Premier League clubs decided to ban gambling sponsors from the front of matchday shirts. However, this rule change will not apply until late in the 2025/26 campaign.

In addition, the new rules will not apply to advertising hoardings in stadia or training kits, which are worn in the pre-match warm-up. The ban also will not extend to other sponsors, such as car providers, financial services, or airlines.

Ultimately, the aim is for gambling sponsors to be less obvious when matches are broadcast to domestic and global audiences on television.

But more developments on the relationship between football and gambling sponsors could develop further. As part of its statement on the development, the Premier League said: “The Premier League is also working with other sports on the development of a new code for responsible gambling sponsorship.”

Therefore, the issue is ever-evolving and the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, are reviewing gambling legislation in the UK, which could further impact gambling sponsorship.

The government body is also coming under pressure from anti-gambling campaign groups. Organisations like The Big Step, which is run by recovering gambling addicts, are committed to stopping gambling’s link with football due to its negative impact on individuals.

What is likely to Change for Fulham and Other Clubs?

Last season, Fulham were one of just eight clubs to have a gambling sponsor on the front of their matchday kit. The Cottagers had a partnership with W88, which concluded at the end of the 2022/23 season.

The club’s move to stick with a gambling sponsor rather than move on to work with a company in an alternative industry shows that clubs are still committed to the revenue which a gambling company can bring. For instance, the overall annual revenue for the eight teams with gambling sponsors last season was estimated at £60 million.

As a result, the money could be a large factor for teams to consider over the next few years before the gambling sponsorship ban comes into place.

However, some clubs have already started preparing for the reduction of gambling sponsorship. Crystal Palace changed their matchday shirt sponsor before the 2022/23 campaign. Previously, the Eagles were sponsored by W88 also. However, the London club partnered with car retailer, Cazoo as an alternative.

Such a move could be common for more Premier League sides before the gambling sponsorship ban comes into effect.

But, as gambling sponsorships are likely to remain ins stadia and on kits, clubs may still commit to long-term deals with gambling companies. Some clubs even have multiple gambling sponsors, such as Man City, who partner with LeoVegas and 8XBet Vegas, while Liverpool has a long-term deal with BeVictor worth around £15 million.

As a result, teams like Fulham are likely to stick with their gambling providers due to the significant income, rather than take a more moral route relating to advertisement.