Football powerhouse Manchester United has announced it has agreed to a sponsorship deal with gambling company, Yabo Sport, making it one of their 23 sponsors.
The sports betting platform is already the official gambling partner of the English Premier League club.
The club’s previous official gambling sponsor was MoPlay. The new deal with Yabo Sport will be worth an estimated £2m-£3m (or $2.4m-$3.6m) to Manchester United annually. The declaration of this new sponsorship deal came before the Red Devils’ first Premier League game of the season against Chelsea.
Manchester United’s managing director Richard Arnold was the man credited with completing the deal.
Aside from Yabo Sport, the popular football squad also has lucrative deals with other companies. For the 2017-2018 season, the club had sponsors’ revenue of £276m (or $333m). This is a substantial leap from its revenue a decade ago of £66m ($80m) during the 2008-2009 season.
Manchester United is also in the midst of a ten-year deal with sportswear mega-brand Adidas, which is worth £750m (or $904m). They also have a sponsorship deal with automobile-maker Chevrolet that is worth around £500m (or $603m). Other major sponsors include such prominent companies like DHL, Aon, Tag Heuer and Konami.
Aside from Manchester United, Yabo Sport also has arrangements with the German Bundesliga team Hertha Berlin and AS Monaco in France’s Ligue 1.
Sponsorship deals involving gambling firms and football teams is unsurprising. At the moment, nine of the 20 teams in the English Premier League have gambling firms as their shirt sponsors.
In the next tier down, gambling firms signify 17 of the 24 Championship teams as kit sponsors. Sky Bet is also a main sponsor of various English football leagues including the Championship.
Many people have stated their concern about the impact of gambling sponsors in football. They believe that young people are too vulnerable and that such deals standardize gambling. Football fans of all ages are inundated with pro-gambling messages, with sponsors appearing on kits, stadium billboards and in advertisements during televised games.
Jim Orford from Gambling Watch UK is very worried at this rising trend of gambling sponsors in football, saying:
“There is evidence that gambling is becoming ever more normalized, particularly among young people.”
He also believes that betting is “increasingly seen as part and parcel of following and supporting one’s favorite sport or team.”
Some gambling companies are responding to this development. GVC Holdings, which owns several major sports betting brands such as Coral, Ladbrokes, and Betdaq, are calling for an end to gambling sponsorship in football.
Betdaq has already donated its shirt sponsorship for Sunderland FC to the Children with Cancer charity for the 2019-2020 season.