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Bookies should chase the American Dream but more importantly see the government ban on shirt sponsorship as a positive move for the industry. The government will inevitably introduce a ban on. Bookies spared massive payout as third leg of gamble is beaten at Musselburgh. Gallahers Cross: 4-5 favourite who failed to land the final leg of a huge treble on.
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12 February 2021 10:33am
Bookies should chase the American Dream but more importantly see the government ban on shirt sponsorship as a positive move for the industry.
The government will inevitably introduce a ban on shirt sponsorship in football. The bookmakers know this, and it will be the genuinely innovative brands that act now with bold and brave strategies that will prosper.
Ever since MP Nigel Adams said: 'clubs need to look at different sources of income', most bookmakers have also been looking at how they pivot to identify new sources of revenue.
More veteran readers of this article may remember the same noises in early 2005 when a ban on tobacco advertising in sport was first muted. As the tobacco category did, bookmakers will have to change their tactics and approach to succeed.
I fear for the lower league clubs who will need to switch their focus from commercial to creative, demonstrating a point of difference when it comes to fan engagement. Clubs have shown that they can do it with Forest Green becoming the first Vegan club and Newport County announcing a new player through Grand Theft Auto.
The days of just placing a logo on a shirt and sending a media value over at the end of the season are long gone. Yes, clubs can swap bookmakers for the burgeoning forex market in the short-term, but you'd assume that category is next on the hit list.
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Could this outcome mean the end of one brand placement on a shirt? Will club's commercial teams expect greater flexibility from governing bodies to replace the bookmakers' lost revenue? Will we see clubs aligning new partners for home, away, and cup competitions?
It's not just limited to football either. The ban would affect snooker, darts, boxing, and rugby league. I suspect most bookies will switch their attention from football to soccer with an aggressive assault on the US market. 23 of the 50 US states have now passed the sports betting bill, and every new state opens up millions of new customers.
With the MLS allowing franchises to negotiate sports book partnerships unlike some of the more established US sports (for now, that is), I expect Premier League rivalling commercial deals with Inter Miami and LA Galaxy when California and Florida pass the bill.
Closer to home, bookies should re-imagine the notion of influence, especially when targeting a younger audience. The shirt is a powerful shop window to international fans, but what does it say about your brand? Partnerships provide access to engaged fans, third-party data, and athletes but not without a host of restrictions.
Could this move provide a positive opportunity for bookmakers based on the changing consumption habits of consumers? With so much football on TV, has the 'product' become saturated? Have more matches meant more bad games to watch, especially when Gen Z and millennials are happy to settle for highlights on their small iPhone screens?
Bookmakers should consider brand partnerships with digital influencers that deliver club neutral content around football and live betting. The True Geordie engages millions of football fans every month with 'The Big Kick-off' providing live YouTube commentary around the biggest fixtures in a more youth centric ‘Soccer Saturday’ environment.
These are more than just influencers. They're creative strategists, content creators and publishers highly adept at talking audience engagement and measurement. This is a bold and refreshing alternative to traditional sponsorship as it provides much more than just a media play.
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What's even more interesting is that a partnership like this isn't siloed into one sport or area of culture. The bookmaker becomes part of authentic conversations led by the audience and sporting calendar instead of just marked calendar moments around a team's 40 Premier League fixtures.
With younger fans, in particular, wanting honest views that reflect their opinions without the conformity of club approvals and perceived traditional media bias, bookmakers should invest in these brands that can convert loyal audiences to their product.
With hyper-engaged audiences, bookmakers should be engaging the likes of SDMN and the Filthy Fellas with an open brief to drive awareness, consideration, and intent. Bookies need to be brave though, they need to collaborate and trust their responses. Yes, they might swear. Yes, they might want to push you down a road you haven't been before but if you're going to engage your next generation of punters, is now not the time to place your bet? What's imperative during any planning is compliance and understanding of ASA and CAP guidelines to ensure safety measures are followed.
Yes, they might swear. Yes, they might want to push you down a road you haven't been before but if you're going to engage your next generation of punters, is now not the time to place your bet? What's imperative during any planning is compliance and understanding of ASA and CAP guidelines to ensure safety measures are followed.
Dan French, SVP of PR and influencer marketing, 160over90, a full-service marketing agency and part of the Endeavor network, including IMG and WME.