Preston North End Shows Gambling Sponsorship the Red Card
Preston North End has decided it will no longer allow front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with betting companies when its current deal with 32Red ends next season. As part of a strategy shift, the club state they are seeking a “local non-betting partner”.
Championship side Preston North End have announced that they will be seeking a non-betting company to sponsor the team when their current deal with Kindred-owned 32Red ends at the end of the 2021-2022 season.
The club has previously displayed Tempobet and 888 brandings and signed a four-year deal with 32Red in 2018. In a statement on the club’s official website, Preston North End state they are aware of concerns from supporters about their relationship with betting companies and that they plan to announce the club’s new sponsor in the next few weeks.
Club advisor Peter Ridsdale wrote:” Finding good sponsors that work with us and also pay competitive monies is difficult. Some years ago, many football clubs were sponsored by alcohol companies and then that sector was prohibited. This gap was taken up by betting companies. Indeed if you take away front of shirt sponsors who are directly connected to their clubs’ owners, by far the greatest balance of front of shirt sponsors in the top two divisions are betting companies.”
“We have been grateful for the income received from the betting sector and for the last four years from 32Red. We do, however, recognise that many of our supporters have grave misgivings in such relationships, and of course, it means that replica shirts for our supporters aged under 18 cannot be the same as the ones being worn by our first-team squad.”
“In thanking 32Red and all other sponsors in recent years, I am able to confirm that we will be announcing in the coming weeks a new front of shirt sponsorship deal with a local non-betting partner that we are absolutely delighted with and we believe that our supporters will be too. This will give us plenty of time to get the new logos onto the 2021/22 kit in time for launch in July.”
Many supporters groups and gambling charities have called for the banning of football clubs having relationships with gambling companies.
The Premier League is the most-watched football league globally, eight clubs, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Southampton, West Ham United, and Wolverhampton Wanderers; all display gambling firms on the front of shirts.
In the Championship, the league that Preston North End plays in, the number of gambling companies shown on shirts is even higher.
Blackburn, Birmingham City, Brentford, Bristol City, Bolton, Coventry, Derby County, Ipswich, Hull City, Middlesbrough, Norwich, Nottingham Forest, Preston, QPR, Stoke City and Swansea all sponsor clubs, meaning three-quarters of the division have front-of-shirt deals with gambling companies.
A House of Lords Select Committee on gambling has recommended that shirt sponsorship by gambling operators should be banned by 2023. The Committee also called on the government to prohibit gambling advertising in or near any sports grounds or sports venues.
Shirt sponsorship deals are lucrative for the clubs involved. The Premier League clubs sponsored by gambling companies receive £70m per year, and EFL clubs receive £40m.
However, Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, said a ban on gambling companies sponsoring clubs would be ‘potentially catastrophic, especially if such a ban were introduced without notice.
Speaking at a meeting with MPs at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Parry said: “The last thing we need at the moment is restrictions on other valuable sources of income because they can’t be just switched overnight.”