Newly promoted Premier League side Fulham FC has signed W88 as front-of-shirt sponsor, ahead of a planned vote on the future of such arrangements.
The Asia-focused sportsbook and casino brand’s logo will feature on the front of the West London club’s men’s and women’s first team kit for the 2022/23 season as a result of the linkup.
W88 is no stranger to the English top-flight, having sponsored Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Leicester City in previous seasons, and provides sports betting, live dealer casino, poker, slots and lottery products.
Hilly Ehrlich, W88 Business Development Manager, commented: “We are both proud and excited to be partnering with London’s oldest professional football club, Fulham FC, as they return to the top-flight of English football.
“We are also looking forward to engaging with their passionate global fanbase during the season ahead and delivering innovative content with the club.
“With a global footprint, W88 is a brand which represents integrity, trust and excellence and we will be actively promoting responsible gaming.”
As well seeing its logo featured across front of Fulham’s matchday journeys for the team’s third return to the top-flight in five years, the company will also benefit from in-stadia LED branding at Craven Cottage and digital and social content generation opportunities.
Although announced this week, rumours surrounding the deal have been circulating in both sports business and general footballing circles for over a week.
It was pointed out on Twitter last Tuesday that in the Premier League’s official handbook for the 2022/23 season W88 was listed as the team’s primary partner.
According to the Premier League handbook released today, W88 will be Fulham's sponsor next season.
W88 are a bookmaker mainly focused on the asian market. pic.twitter.com/vDr97Y8vdl
— Fulhamish (@FulhamishPod) July 19, 2022
Meanwhile, The Athletic later added that some Fulham followers held ‘reservations’ about the partnership, mirroring the negative reaction of many Everton fans to the Toffee’s agreement with Stake.com.
Fulham supporters voiced their opposition to betting sponsorships when responding to the Fulham Supporters’ Trust annual survey, in which 46% disproving of an operator becoming the club’s primary sponsor.
“We’re pleased to welcome W88 on board as Main Team Partner this season in a record sponsorship deal for the club,” remarked Fulham FC Sales Director, Jon Don-Carolis.
“The deal provides significant revenue to assist with our commercial objectives, enabling us to compete in a challenging and exciting Premier League campaign.”
The Premier League is reportedly due to hold a vote on the future of betting shirt sponsorships in September, with the league apparently encouraging clubs to begin phasing out such partnerships over the next few seasons.
Originally due to take place this month, the ballot was delayed in tandem with the rescheduling of the Gambling Act review White Paper due to the political situation in Westminster.
This may explain the length of the Fulham/W88 contact of just one-year due to the vote casting doubt on the sustainability of betting shirt sponsorships.
However, the Premier League has also reportedly been pushing for a continuation of shirt sleeve sponsorships whilst removing front-of-shirt arrangements – meaning W88 could keep brand visibility at Craven Cottage, but see itself relegated from players’ chests to their arms.