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The evolution of sports betting sponsorship

Goldman Sachs predicts that the sports betting market will be worth almost $40 billion by 2033.

In the past few years, there have been a lot of new trends and innovations coming up in the sports industry. Through the advancement of technology, the industry has started coming up with new ways to involve fans with the sport to improve their viewing experience.

One of the most talked-about trends in recent times is the introduction and advancement of sports betting sponsorships. Earlier, viewers, sports organizations, and even the government used to consider sports betting as taboo and were against its usage. 

But now things have changed, people and organizations from all around the world have started accepting sports betting to some extent. Many of the leagues and teams have started considering sports betting as one of their important revenue verticals or sources.

Teams and leagues have started partnering with various betting platforms and have granted them the rights and titles of official betting partners/sponsors.

Most betting operators are now well-regulated corporate citizens that operate only within jurisdictions in which they are licensed, pay taxes in those jurisdictions and support responsible gaming. In many cases, there is a natural synergy between these legitimate operators and the sports they support, with sponsorship revenue being a key contributor to the ongoing success of some sports.

However, sports betting systems have their flaws, in a report published by the Sorbonne University and International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) in 2014 it was estimated that criminal groups were laundering US$140 billion a year by match-fixing and illegal betting, with 53% of illegal bets coming from Asia.

Though the relationship between betting operators and sports teams, athletes, and events has grown stronger in the last few decades, it has further led the governments and organizations to bring in strict laws to regulate the sports betting operators.

The industry can witness an increasing number of betting partnerships taking place across various sports all around the world. Its scope is now not only just limited to football, the industry has seen betting partnerships expand it to other medieval sports such as lacrosse, boxing, etc as well.

There are sponsorship deals that allow the betting company to associate its brand with the sports teams, often including pitch-side advertising or presence on official websites.

Those betting and gaming operators might be the title sponsor of the event itself, advertising during the commercial breaks of the program you’re watching or sponsoring the so-called ‘bumpers’ leading into those commercial breaks. They might also be taking ‘inventory-share’ on the advertising hoardings at the game on screen, or having their logo on the shirt of the team playing in the game you’ve perhaps tuned in for.

These betting and gaming companies go to lengths to reach their target audience. Through all the advertisements and marketing strategies, the betting operators can expand their marketplace and in return helps increase the fan engagement experience.

This leads us to the question that, ‘Then what is in it there for the teams or leagues?’ Well, it is the money that these betting operators bring into the revenue streams of the teams and leagues. These sponsorship deals run into billions of dollars when counting in Europe and the US sponsorship deals.

Sports teams have to pay technical staff and player salaries and also has to spend money attracting new players. Access to good training equipment and resources also requires a lot of money.

Sponsorships deals have been very useful for sports teams following the pandemic lockdowns of 2020. Without gate ticket revenues, many sports teams immediately fell into hardships. Sponsorship deals with these betting operators have kept most of the teams operational and prevented their total collapse. In some countries, betting companies are keeping the entire sports leagues running.

In many cases, the teams or leagues also have different betting partners for different regions of the world. 

Talking about the industry players in the sports betting circuit we can see some companies like DraftKingsBetway, Bet365, BetMGM dominate the segment. Many of these companies have signed exclusive multi-year agreements with the league or teams which have provided them with the exclusive rights to be their official betting partners for the coming years.

These betting operators are even changing the landscape in the sports media industry. Traditional sports media companies, for their part, are trying to play the sports betting game as well. Networks like ESPNFox, and CBS have formed advertising partnerships with sportsbooks, launched their sports betting studio shows, and experimented with alternate gambling-driven game broadcasts.

The sports betting industry is expanding a lot, new players have started coming in which will see the betting industry boom in a couple of years. Goldman Sachs even predicts that the sports betting market will be worth almost $40 billion by 2033. But all in all, it would be important to see how these betting operators can grow ethically without disturbing the authenticity of these various sports competitions held across the world.

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