/ 27 June 2023

Gambling sponsorship for Premier League clubs to change

Premier League

Front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with gambling companies will cease from 2026/27 onwards

Premier League clubs have had a relationship with gambling companies for some time. You could suggest the combination of the two makes sense because they go hand-in-hand regarding football and everything involved in it. But, from the 2026/27 campaign onwards, the shirts of Premier League outfits will no longer display gambling sponsors in any way, shape or form due to new legislation.

There have long been concerns surrounding gambling advertisements in football. Campaigners have expressed concerns that because younger and vulnerable people can be influenced by football, football teams and players, it means that by proxy, they can be influenced by the gambling brands splashed across the front of some of the Premier League’s club shirts. The upcoming rule change, which is still years away from being actioned, not only pertains to sports betting brands but leading casino sites as well.

Many Premier League clubs had been doing front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with gambling brands because they were renowned for paying well and the agreements were lucrative. These lucrative agreements helped clubs rake in revenue, which they could then use to balance expenditure, to ensure that there was no breach of FFP regulations (UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations) when spending big money on players’ transfer fees and wages. However, any Premier League team locked into such an arrangement will have to make alternative plans from 2026/27 onwards.

It’s not necessarily the end of the road for Premier League outfits and gambling brands. The new legislation is there to block the use of the latter on the front of shirts, but it may be possible to sign agreements for gambling brands to appear on sleeves, for example. Of course, anything other than a front-of-shirt sponsorship agreement is going to be significantly less lucrative, but they could be financially advantageous all the same.

It is thought, and it has been suggested, that there is an intention for all gambling advertisements to be removed from the world of Premier League football in the future. It’s not something that is currently in the pipeline, but it could certainly come into force further down the line as campaigners ramp up their efforts to make it so. Until then, clubs in England’s top-flight have a conundrum to solve regarding what’s the next big thing in the world of front-of-shirt sponsors. 

Until recently, crypto companies such as cryptocurrency exchanges were mooted as a possible replacement that could deliver agreements as lucrative as gambling brands. But it doesn’t seem likely after the recent decline and scandal in the crypto universe. So Premier League outfits must explore other avenues, but for now, they can continue to use and sign deals with gambling brands as front-of-shirt sponsors. And then they can always move them to be sleeve sponsors when the time comes. The next step in terms of what type of companies replace gambling brands remains to be seen, but multiple clubs will already be investigating future opportunities.