With the Premier League withdrawing gambling sponsorships from the front of shirts from the 2027/28 season, the English top-flight will be looking for new sectors to fill the revenue gap left behind.
Whilst the betting sector has generated millions for betting companies in terms of the cash payments of sponsorships, sports data and insights firm Horizm believes that other industries represent better ‘digital value’ – in the form of impressions and engagement – than gambling.
Currently, eight teams in the league hold gambling companies as front of shirt sponsors – AFC Bournemouth, Brentford, Everton, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton and West Ham – which generate around £60m per annum in digital value combined.
However, using its AI-powered analytics, Horizm suggested that operators have not been a major driving force in terms of providing digital value to these clubs.
The company’s examination of the digital performance of betting partnerships for professional football teams specifically highlighted the ‘enormous prospects’ for clubs and brands to land new digital partnerships – such as with players in the entertainment industry.
Over the last 12 months, the firm explained, Bournemouth’s sponsorship with Dafabet only generated €5,763 in total digital value based on factors such as engagement and impressions.
At the time, the club lauded this deal as “an important part” of the club’s commercial goals “of maximising revenue in the Premier League”.
Additionally, Brentford acquired €1,915 in total value from its partnership with Hollywoodbets, Leeds gained €1,203 from their agreement with SBOTOP, and Southampton and Everton earned ‘very little value’ of €708 and €197 from deals with Sportsbet.io and Stake.com, respectively.
Horizm continued: “Despite the fact that the apparel sector is leading the way in terms of greatest amount of digital value, with Leeds’ sponsorship with Adidas generating €55,684 in total digital value and Everton’s sponsorship with Hummel generating €45,545, partnerships in the entertainment industry with EA Sports are providing clubs like Newcastle and Fulham a significant volume of digital value.”
There was various reports in February this year that the Premier League was close to agreeing a six-year deal with EA, said to be worth close to £500m. The pair have commercial ties which date back to 1998.
Moreover, the company also delved into Newcastle’s partnership with e-commerce company Noon, which it revealed had a digital value of €225,421, and then its deal with EA Sports which ranked second in the club’s most lucrative digital partnership with an €118,981 valuation.
In a similar vein, agreements with EA Sports led to Fulham’s greatest overall social media engagements with 475,086 impressions, generating €36,924 in value, the data firm explained.
Insurance and financial services, as well as software, performed well for both AFC Bournemouth and Brentford following their sponsorships with Vitality and BlueJeans Network, which produced the clubs a total digital value of €33,170 and €32,353, in the past year.
Luis Viverios, COO of Horizm, stated: “It is clear that whilst the gambling industry may provide significant monetary value to clubs, those brand partnerships do not represent value from a digital perspective.
“Our data highlights that fans of Premier League clubs engage more with brand partnership posts from sectors including apparel, travel and e-commerce ahead of gambling. These partnerships also offer greater financial value digitally for both clubs and brands.
Horizm’s recent 2023 Digital Value of Fans report emphasised the ‘enormous reach and commercial worth’ the sports industry holds, whilst also touching on the ‘tremendous possibilities’ for brands and professional football teams to acquire a substantial amount of revenue through their digital inventory.
Generating close to €80 million in revenue, the sports industry has 590 brands that are digitally active, Horizm highlighted.
The group reported: “The majority of sponsored digital sports content is led by apparel and travel brands, with entertainment & media also key within the top three sectors. Each market has a reputable brand with Adidas (62.41%), Emirates (75.44%), and EA Sports (68.27%) dominant and offering the most value.”
Moreso, the report underlines the value of using digital activation as an efficient strategy to drive engagement, with fantasy sports coming out on top, closely followed by apparel, and then e-commerce.
Horizm’s research shows that the most valuable type of social media post for rights holders and brands to partner with is full-time result posts, generating a total of €57m in the past 12 months. This is closely followed by posts marking birthdays and historical sporting moments, generating close to €45m each.
“The change in sponsorship ruling, provides clubs, brands and partners with a strong opportunity to explore new digital activations with brands operating in the sectors above,” Viverios concluded.
“The landscape of the industry is set to change once the ban comes into effect and we are interested to see how untapped brands and sectors may come to the forefront of the digital landscape.”