Bodog has extended one of the longest running current shirt sponsorship deals in British football and will once again be adorning the shirt of Ayr United.
The partnership is now entering its 7th year with Ayr United starting the season in the Ladbrokes Scottish League One, the third tier of football in Scotland, after suffering relegation last season.
Ayr United Football Club commented: “It’s a big season for the club and its great to have Bodog on board again. In the modern era its pretty rare to have such a long-term sponsor and there’s aplenty to be positive about the season ahead as we strive for promotion once more.”
However the deal has not been without its controversies. Last year the club and the brand were heavily criticised by the founder of Scottish Women in Sport Maureen McGonigle for promoting the new kit launch by using body paint on a naked model.
Bodog seems pretty comfortable with its position though. Founder of the Bodog brand, Calvin Ayre, explained: “After the controversy of last year’s kit launch we felt we should change our strategy; so this year we are using a body-painted model in the away strip rather than the home one. We hope the pictures will give The Honest Men the boost they need for promotion and a good Cup run too. ‘Mon Ayr!”
The deal itself is also an unusual outlier from the usual marketing deal given that it appears to be a sentimental decision by Calvin Ayre given he traced his ancestors back to that area of Scotland and the similarities between his name and that of the team. Bodog doesn’t have a UK licence and Ayr United doesn’t have a considerable international presence, so the commercials are unlikely to be significant. The partnership also challenges the Gambling Commission’s assertion that brands need a UK licence in order to sponsor football teams, with the counter argument that a licence isn’t necessary if an operator doesn’t take UK customers, as is the case with Bodog.