Philippines-based betting company W88 has taken another giant step into the English Premier League by signing a deal to become the “official betting partner” of the recent champion, Leicester City.
W88 will benefit from brand exposure via pitch-side LED advertising at Leicester’s King Power Stadium, as well as being given access to the players to “develop unique content”.
Jonathan Gregory, commercial director for the Foxes, said: “It is exciting to have such an ambitious brand on board and we look forward to creating unique content and offerings for our fans in the UK and around the world.”
W88 said that the partnership would bring Asian fans “closer to the club,” but it seems clear that the company is gearing up for a move into the UK market, especially as the Wolves’ deal is likely to include similar promotional options.
VSO News previously reported that Premier League new boys Wolverhampton Wanderers had signed a shirt sponsorship deal with W88, said to be the most lucrative in the club’s history.
A sign of things to come?
We seem to be fast approaching the moment when all 20 Premier League teams will have an “official betting partner” and, as I wrote recently, we should not be surprised to see the 2022 World Cup (or even Euro2020, which will be the first major football tournament without a host country) go down the same route.
Betting is becoming an ever-more integral part of football at the highest level, with the clubs seeing as it as a way to generate extra revenue and extend their reach into geographical areas where they might not otherwise be known. While Indonesian company King Power owns Leicester City, I doubt that Jamie Vardy is a household name in the Far East.
But all that may be about to change. Expect more and more top-flight clubs to sign up with official betting partners and expect more online betting companies in the Far East to use the partnerships to spearhead a move into the UK and European sports markets.