Premier League Shirt Sponsorship Gears Toward Asian Markets

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The English Premier League is the biggest and most popular football/futbol/soccer top flight league in the entire world.

Each weekend, the Premier League is shown on televisions in 226 countries all over the world. The most recent estimates of their total audience, for all programming, is approximately 1.61 billion viewers. That’s a lot of eyeballs, and hence a ton of potential to be very lucrative for a brand that can strike the right deal with the club that fits well with what the company is all about. 

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Of all the global markets the league caters to, the Asia-Pacific region is now emerging now as arguably the most important. Due to free broadcasts of matches in China, Indonesia and Thailand, this part of the world now accounts for the biggest portion of the PL’s world television audience at 29%. 

In the summer of 2017, Newcastle United struck a new £6m shirt sponsorship deal with online gaming business Fun88, the latest example of Asian betting companies sponsoring English football teams. With nearly a third of the league’s TV audience residing in Asia, this is a natural, logical trend. Fun88, who provide online “slots” games among a host of other services, are owned by a holding company based in the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland.

Fun88 is only the latest Asian company to enter into this kind of partnership.  Online bookmaker, 138.com was recently the shirt sponsor for Watford, but now on their logos reside on the kit sleeves, as global forex brokerage company FxPro took their spot in the middle of the kit. Asian gaming company m88 sponsors the AFC Bournemouth strip, to the tune of £3.5 million, while LeTou has a £4.5m contract with Swansea City. 

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Recently promoted Huddersfield Town was sponsored by Chinese gaming company Ope Sports this past season, and earned £1.5 million from this arrangement over the course of this past season

London club Crystal Palace is partnered with ManBetX, a Filipino betting firm which yielded the Eagles £6.5 million over the 2017-18 term. All in all, gambling companies featured on the jerseys of nine Premier League clubs this past season. That’s nearly half, and an astounding statistic when you realize that a decade ago there were only four casino companies emblazoned on Premier League shirts and 20 years ago there was not a single one. 

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This trend perfect indicates just how mainstream the gaming industry has become worldwide within the realm of sports.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud and YouTube.

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