12Bet will be back on a Premier League team shirt this season after the Asian-facing bookmaker signed a deal to become Hull City’s new main sponsor. 12Bet CEO Rory Anderson explains how the deal came about and what value it gives to the firm in terms of international exposure.
SBC: First up – Why Hull City?
Anderson: There were a few Premier League clubs available in terms of shirt sponsorship for the upcoming season. We were in talks with all of them. We do not have infinite resources, so price was clearly an issue. It was important to us to work with a club that had strong potential to retain Premiership status for the following season. Hull are an ambitious club that clearly wants to establish itself as a Premier League mainstay. We also wanted a club that played attractive football and had the ability to beat anyone on their day. Steve Bruce is clearly a strong manager. I think the squad he has built will surprise a few people this year.
SBC: Aside from the shirt space, what else do you get from the deal? How do you value these extras?
Anderson: The primary driver for us was the TV facing branding elements of the deal. Our logo on the shirt, the perimeter advertising and the interview backdrops. We also value being able to use the club’s logo and player imagery and aim to make good use of the hospitality tickets that we receive. We invited guests to Crystal Palace last year where we were Stadium Sponsors. The feedback we received from our partners was fantastic, so from a relationship building point of view, this activity worked. Our Twitter and Facebook work around the club’s fanbase is not about hard sell. We frequently give away tickets and signed shirts. In terms of strict ROI these benefits are hard to value. It’s more about goodwill.
SBC: Last year you were on Wigan’s shirt when they played in the Europa League and Hull will play in Europe this year – do you get any uptake from these excursions or is the value really in the EPL?
Anderson: For us, this sponsorship is all about the Premier League. It’s the Premier League that delivers the global viewing figures that makes such activity worthwhile. This will be our fifth consecutive season where we will have had solid Premier League exposure. It’s the most popular league in the world so we are delighted with the association. We did not get much exposure from Wigan’s involvement in the Europa League last season and were more enthused by their domestic cup run.
SBC: You also taken shirt sponsorship in Spain previously – how different was that to the EPL in terms of ROI?
Anderson: The Sevilla deal was very important in terms of establishing ourselves in Europe. It was a good brand building exercise and we gained fantastic exposure through the partnership. It’s perhaps unfair on Sevilla/La Liga to compare what we did then to what we are doing now in terms of strict ROI. 12BET is now more established as a brand and our sponsorship goals have become more ROI focused. They are both very exciting leagues (Spain & England). However, I would say that, in general, kick off times in England and the fantastic distribution deals that have been done, help to make the viewing figures in the Premier League second to none. From a sponsor’s point of view, this is clearly very appealing. It’s all about the number of eyeballs.
SBC: What changes have you made to business regarding the UK’s point of consumption tax?
Anderson: We are currently going through the UK application process. We are based and licensed in the Isle of Man, and the Gambling Supervision Commission here are very experienced and quite strict in terms of their licensing conditions. So far I have not seen anything from the UKGC that has caused us major concern as most of the general rules and regulations are sensible and are in line with what we have in place in the Isle of Man already. Player protection has always been the priority here.