Sky Bet has extended its multi-million pound sponsorship deal with the English Football League until the summer of 2024.The gambling operation is the headline sponsor for the Championship, League One and League Two football divisions.It gets its logo on shirts, and rights for “Bet and Watch” for some matches.It says it will try to discourage problem gambling through messaging on shirts, and that clubs will benefit through more money.The deal, which is worth tens of millions of pounds, has been in place since 2013.Sky Bet said it would be paying 20% more than it has done so far to extend the agreement from 2019 to 2024.This will make the eleven-year deal one of the longest in professional sport, the firm said.The Leeds-based operation, which includes sites such as Sky Vegas and Sky Bingo, is owned by private equity group CVC Capital Partners.Broadcaster Sky retains a 20% stake in the firm.
The money from the deal will be divided among the 72 clubs in the English Football League, which sits under the Premier League in terms of professional football club rankings.The betting industry has been under increasing scrutiny from the government, and from regulator the Gambling Commission.Richard Flint, chief executive of Sky Betting & Gaming, speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, said it and the EFL were actively promoting awareness about problem gambling as part of the ‘When the fun stops. Stop’ campaign.Mr Flint said: “From the play offs and including next season every shirt will have a responsible gambling message on the shirt sleeve and we’re tying that into a responsible gambling campaign starting today, which includes a TV advert and perimeter boards at ELF games.”The “When the fun stops. Stop” campaign is orchestrated by the Senet Group and includes a number of other industry participants. The Senet Group was established in 2014 by some of Britain’s high street bookmakers in response to public concerns about gambling and gambling addiction.Critics would prefer the Gambling Commission to simply take a tougher stance. Earlier this year the Football Association announced it would end sponsorship deals with gambling firms.One of the findings of the BBC’s annual Price of Football survey was that more young football fans bet on games than play the sport.About 95% of TV ad breaks in live football matches feature at least one gambling advert, the BBC found in October.In some matches, 40% of the adverts were for gambling.
Source: BBC Regional