Recent figures of Caytoo showed significant changes in sponsorship industry trends, as the betting and gambling industry shed its top spot two years ago, seeing its number of professional sports sponsors shrink by almost half.
Overall, the industry has seen its sponsorship share drop from 15.3% to 8.1% in football, rugby and cricket, a trend which Caytoo says “is driven entirely by football.”
The industry has seen its share of football sponsors fall by more than half, from 32.7% to 15.2%, although despite the decline it remains the largest sponsor for the world’s most popular sport. .
“This change has been driven by increased demand from society for professional sports to be more socially responsible to their fans and communities,” noted Alex burmaster, head of research and analysis at Caytoo.
“In addition to the decline in gambling, alcohol has seen the second largest reduction in prevalence, while environmental services and health care are among the recording the largest increases. “
Instead of gambling, construction and engineering took first place with 11.2%, followed by automobiles with 9.4% and financial services at 8.5%.
In addition, the IT and software services, telecommunications and automotive sectors saw the largest increase in the number of major sponsorships, with each sector increasing its number of partners by eight, five and four respectively.
This has been attributed by Burmaster to the COVID-19 pandemic, which he says has accelerated the shift to a more digital world and the growing dominance of companies operating in this space.
Of these IT and software service sponsorships, most have focused on women’s sport, which is behind six of the eight agreements, which the researcher says “shows how successful women’s professional sport is. more and more seen as a way for companies to make themselves known and to be recognized “. ‘.
Continuing, Burmaster referenced Norwich City FCthe recent termination of his contract with online sports betting BK8, following widespread fan outcry over “sexually provocative” marketing campaigns shared on the operator’s social media channels.
“A prime example of this change is Norwich City FC,” he added. “At the start of our research, the club signed a deal with Asian betting company BK8, but by the time the research was completed Norwich had terminated the deal due to public pressure on the sexualized nature. of BK8’s marketing activity and replaced them with Norfolk-based Lotus Cars. which recently announced a £ 2.5bn investment to switch to electric vehicle-only production.
Although gambling sponsorships have been identified as a major revenue driver for football – in addition to other sports – several premier league the clubs held a meeting earlier this year to discuss future marketing and branding deals.
Following the review of the Gambling Act 2005, the links between professional football clubs and the betting and gaming industry are increasingly under scrutiny.
A blanket ban on sports sponsorship of gambling has been predicted as “the most likely outcome” of the review, and reportedly supported by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet.