News, Culture & Society

Should footballers advertise betting brands on their shirts?

“If you play for the name on the front of the shirt, fans will remember the name on the back” is a quote by England captain Tony Adams and I’m sure he meant England, the name of his country and not the name of the betting brand that paid to promote themselves on his shirt.

Fan Engagement

The objective of brand advertising in this manner shows clear benefits and logic, what it lacks is a clear understanding of who their audience is. It was recently found that Europe’s top brands have spent around €2bn on the sponsorships that appear on the front of shirts this season.

The two questions that must be asked are simply “who is this for?” and “who are the actual consumers?”

The companies admit that their target audiences is the men and women who watch the sport, be it from home or in the stadiums; long time team fans who would consider placing a bet on their team’s success in a coming match or cup. For some, it doesn’t even matter if they think their team will actually win as, in a study that was done a few years ago, it has been reported that some will bet on their favourites to win out of a sense of pride or simple hope.

The betting companies have their target audience but the reality of the situation is that there are tremendous amounts of under 18’s that watch the judi online sport too. Marketing your gambling brand toward people of that age is considered immoral by many, hence the recent considerations that are going into the future of these brands advertisements in football.

How do you gamble on Football?

Since the 2005 Gambling Act liberalised betting and the fact it coincided with the social media boom, we saw an incredible increase in gambling in the years following. Traditionally, in order to gamble or make bets in regards to the outcomes of a match, one would need to pay a visit to a bookmaker and place one there. In the UK there are Betfred, Coral, Ladbrokes and William Hill as the leaders in the trade.

Gambling has taken its fair share out of society; many would argue more than it gives back. Thanks to the availability of gambling on every computer or smartphone connected to the internet, the opportunities to spend have gone through the roof.

How is this being managed?

Betting brands are beginning take a more active and aware stance on how they present themselves and who they present themselves to. There is a lot of money in football but when there are children watching, who grow up to believe that pouring money into their favourite team is an easy thing to do needs serious revision.

A recent report from the House of Lords that found over 2 million UK citizens are feeling negative financial and mental effects from gambling. Without knowing the odds, statistics and strategies that are required to make betting an enjoyable and harmless past time, it can instead provide a recipe for disaster and an increase in gambling addiction that can also negatively affect the economy.

Football, as one of the world’s most prolific sports of our age, should work harder to ensure that they are sending the right message to those who consume its coverage.