In the United Kingdom and Championship football club Norwich City has reportedly announced that it will ‘never again have a betting brand’ serve as the principal sponsor of its match-day shirts and now intends to ‘almost self-regulate’ when it comes to choosing such partners.
According to a Tuesday report from a source, the English side last month cancelled a new season-long ‘front-of-shirt’ sponsorship deal with the Asia-facing online sportsbetting brand at BK8 after only three days. This decision purportedly came after the new partner was found to be utilizing highly sexualized images of young women in its social media promotions that would almost surely have been banned by the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority watchdog.
After abandoning this year-long arrangement rumored to be worth up to £5 million ($6 million) and Norwich City, which was last season relegated from the top-flight Premiere League, reportedly inked an analogous alliance with local automotive manufacturer Lotus Cars Limited. However, the team’s Commercial Director, Sam Jeffrey, purportedly responded to ongoing criticism by asserting that in ‘its current structure’ the Norfolk side ‘will never again have a betting brand on the front of our shirts.’
Reportedly read a statement from Jeffrey…
“There were some sponsorship opportunities specifically in the betting space and these derived a higher partnership fee as is the case in industries such as betting. However, we believe this is the time, as a board and club-wide decision, to almost self-regulate when it comes to betting on the front of our shirts. So, certainly with the club in its current structure we will never again have a betting brand on the front of our shirts.”
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that Lotus Cars Limited had a ‘front-of-shirt’ sponsorship deal with Norwich City for the three seasons from 2003 while the team has more recently held similar arrangements with iGaming brands Dafabet and LeoVegas. The 120-year-old soccer club purportedly proclaimed that it was ‘delighted and excited’ to have again agreed an alliance with such an ‘iconic Norfolk brand’ as the pair ‘are very much aligned in their wider visions and values.’
For its part and BK8 reportedly used a June 10 statement published by the sports news domain at TheAthletic.com to confirm ‘the mutual termination’ of its deal with Norwich City. The enterprise furthermore apologized ‘for the social media content published’ by its affiliates and is now committed to taking ‘immediate steps to change the way we market the brand.’
The statement from BK8 reportedly read…
“Our primary mission is to provide a safe and regulated betting platform for sports fans and it is therefore essential that we listen to the voices of the fans in the communities we serve and recognize when we are wrong. Now that the partnership has been mutually terminated, we intend to take action to show football fans that we learn from our mistakes and improve as a brand.”
This issue has come to the fore as the 20 member clubs of the United Kingdom’s Premier League football competition are reportedly considering whether to voluntarily eschew having online casino and sportsbetting firms sponsor the front of their match-day shirts. Such a move would purportedly head off a recommendation expected as part of an ongoing ‘white paper’ governmental review of the nation’s iGaming scene that all top-flight sporting organizations be forbidden from inking ‘front-of-shirt’ marketing deals with iGaming entities.