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Volume 10 No. 25
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Premier League Clubs Shift From Alcohol Brands To Bookmakers As Shirt Sponsors

Premier League shirt sponsorship has "changed beyond recognition since the days when Queens Park Rangers promoted Classic FM and Blackburn Rovers McEwan's Lager," according to Jack Pitt-Brooke of the London INDEPENDENT. Just as the league has "modernised, globalised" and become a "magnet to foreign interest and foreign money, the shirt sponsorship market has followed." This season will see "just four" U.K.-based brands on Premier League shirts, the "lowest number in history." Not "unconnected to that," this season will see nine bookmakers as shirt sponsors, "one down from last season's record of 10." Looking at the changes in shirt sponsorship over time "shows how clearly the market has changed." When the Premier League started in '92-93, the "biggest sectors for shirt sponsorship were consumer electronics, with six deals, and beer, with four." Electronics and beer remained a "steady presence" through the '90s before "dwindling" in the '00s. Last season, there was "just one beer sponsor," Chang Beer on Everton's shirts. It has since been replaced. This year, for the first time in Premier League history, there will be none. While beer partnerships are "still part of the fabric of English football," those brands "do not take quite the same direct approach as they used to." Sports marketing firm Synergy CEO Tim Crow said, "The market reflects a changing dynamic among alcohol brands, as beer brands have moved away from shirt sponsorship." Online gambling is "becoming bigger and bigger business." While only Bet365, which sponsors Stoke City, and BetWay, which sponsors West Ham United, target the U.K. betting market, there has been a "recent rise in investment from foreign bookmakers." They are "far less interested" in the U.K. markets, and "more in the global audience the Premier League provides." That is why Sport Pesa, ManBetX, Fun88, LeTou, M88, Dafabet and Ope Sports -- brands "not especially well-known" in the U.K. -- are now seen every weekend (INDEPENDENT, 8/14).