Premier League’s Fulham May, May Not Have Signed Sponsorship Deal With Sportsbook W88
The English Premier League (EPL) reportedly has overwhelming support from its clubs for a voluntary ban on gambling sponsorships. However, the Fulham club apparently doesn’t agree with the league and may have connected with bookmaker W88.
The EPL and its soccer clubs will vote on whether to approve the voluntary ban this September. If they do, it will likely only apply to front-of-shirt sponsorships while still allowing clubs to sign gambling companies as secondary sponsors.
In the lead-up to that vote, Fulham made an emphatic statement. The updated Premier League Handbook showed that W88 was the “Shirt Sponsor” of Fulham. However, a subsequent revision to the guide says Fulham’s shirt sponsor is “to be advised.”
Sports Betting Part of Sports
Initially, it seemed the W88 logo was going to feature prominently on the shirts of both the men’s and the women’s teams for the 2022-2023 season. Still, Fulham announced the partnership on its website before the EPL update, so it apparently pursued W88. A request for input from Fulham didn’t receive a response before press time.
A ban on sports betting sponsorships in sports won’t detract from the role bookmakers play in the promotion of sports. Fulham recognized that partnering with an operator in the field can prove lucrative, and responded to the will of the majority of its fans.
A Fulham fan group, the Fulham Supporters’ Trust, conducted a survey that reportedly showed that 46% of its followers would be “uncomfortable” seeing a gaming-related company as a front-of-shirt sponsor. That means over 50% either support the idea or don’t care either way.
Fulham will unveil the new partnership on July 29, the day it holds its last pre-season friendly match. Then, when the regular season begins and Fulham faces Liverpool, W88 will have a leading spot on the shirts. The sports betting company would replace World Mobile after that company’s one-year sponsorship.
The agreement gives W88 access to marketing and advertising channels at Fulham’s stadium. It also includes access to the club’s digital presence, including social media.
The sponsorship follows one established between EPL club Everton and Stake.com in June. That arrangement also created a lot of discussion because of the current air surrounding gambling in the UK.
Seven of the EPL’s 14 teams still have gambling sponsorships despite the recent backlash.
William Hill Rides Off With Racing League
While there is a certain degree of disdain about sports organizations teaming up with sports betting operators, deals continue to arrive. As an example, William Hill is now the official sports betting partner of Racing League’s 2022 season.
The first race is coming on August 4 at Doncaster, and the sportsbook will feature prominently at all events of the season. It will then continue through the end of the season.
There were initial concerns that the UK’s updated gambling laws would seek to separate sports betting operators and sports almost completely. However, there now seems to be a lighter approach coming.
The government will reveal all of the details in its white paper when it’s ready. The framework for the UK’s gambling future has succumbed to a number of delays over the past year and has another hurdle to jump. The change of command in the UK government could push the release of the white paper back by several more months.
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