Premier League clubs are discussing a voluntary ban on gambling shirt sponsorships. The proposed change would see 20 clubs in England’s top football league drop gambling sponsors from the front of their shirts.
But sponsorship logos would still be allowed on shirt sleeves and clubs could still place gambling company logos in and around their stadiums.
Any ban would also be introduced over three seasons to limit the financial impact on some clubs that already have multi-year deals with gambling firms. Currently, eight of the 20 Premier League clubs have gambling companies as their main sponsor.
In addition, the proposed ban would not impact clubs in the lower divisions, such as the Championship, League One and League Two.
Ultimately, the voluntary decision could affect many clubs in the Premier League, with many teams generating large revenue from their gambling sponsors.
How Much do Clubs Get from Betting Shirt Sponsors?
Currently, shirt sponsors generate between 15% and 30% of the club’s revenue in the Premier League.
For lower to mid-table teams, such as those outside of the traditional ‘top six’, shirt sponsorships generate more revenue.
For instance, West Ham has one of the most profitable deals with the global betting company Betway. In 2019, West Ham and Betway struck a six-year deal, worth around £10 million per year for the East London club. It is also the most valuable, long-term agreement between the club and sponsor outside of the ‘top six’.
This deal makes up an estimated 30% of West Ham’s commercial revenue each year. Similarly, Everton partnered with online betting company Stake.com ahead of the 2022/23 Premier League season. This multi-year deal is reportedly worth £10 million per year to Everton.
However, a similar mid-table club, like Aston Villa, get significantly less from their deal with car supplier Cazoo, which is reportedly worth £6 million per year.
In comparison, none of the Premier League’s top six has gambling companies as their main sponsor for the 2022/23 Premier League season.
Ultimately, Man City, Liverpool, Man United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal make enough income from partnerships with global companies and lucrative partnerships.
The top six make an estimated 40% of their income from commercial deals. In 2020/21, Man City had deals with a league-high 31 partners, Man United had 21 and Arsenal 19.
However, mid-table sides made significantly less than the top six from their commercial revenue. 24% of Everton’s income and 18% of Leicester’s income came from commercial deals in 2021/22.
What Impact Can the Sponsor Ban Have?
No official decision is expected from the Premier League clubs until September regarding the voluntary ban of gambling shirt sponsors. The final decision requires 14 of the 20 club owners to agree to the ban.
Generally, many clubs are likely to feel the financial effects of any gambling shirt sponsor ban. In the 2022/23 season, all eight teams that have the main gambling sponsor are expected to be among mid-table or lower-table competitors.
Even with the exception of allowing gambling company logos as the sleeve sponsor, clubs would still lose significant revenue from any ban.
In 2017, when the official sleeve sponsor was first introduced on Premier League kits, revenue was forecast to generate £3 million per year for each club.
But the reality has been far different with lower league teams roughly getting £500,000 per year and mid-table clubs generating £1 million per year from sleeve sponsors. By comparison, the top six received around £6 to £10 million in income per year from sleeve sponsorship.
In 2022, Chelsea signed a deal with cryptocurrency company Whale Fin. As the club’s sleeve sponsor, the deal is worth an estimated £20 million per year.
Overall, many clubs will find it more challenging to find a more lucrative main sponsor outside of the gambling industry. In addition, the allowance of sleeve only sponsorships are unlikely to be enough for many clubs to bring in the same revenue compared to the leading clubs in the Premier League.
At present, the only viable alternative may come from finding long-term deals with high-profile global brands. For instance, Brighton and Hove Albion signed a 12-year contract with American Express in 2019 worth £100 million.
But the challenge will be attracting high-profile partners with less visibility in the Premier League. Teams like Man United, Liverpool and Man City have a global presence, a larger international fanbase and more screen time.
However, clubs like Southampton, Aston Villa and Leeds do not have the same stature on a global scale to bring in high-earning partners on long-term deals.