No More Gambling-Related Shirt Sponsorship for Norwich

The subject of gambling companies signing shirt sponsorship deals with football clubs continues to be controversial. Norwich City have said that they will “never again” sign such a deal.

Norwich are back in the Championship this season after a second consecutive relegation from the Premier League. Now they are bidding to win the Championship for the third time in a row as they continue to be a yo-yo club.

The comments on gambling sponsorship were made by their commercial director Sam Jeffrey. He believes that the club must “almost self-regulate” when it comes to the thorny subject of deals with gambling companies.

For the 2022/23 season, Norwich have a one-year deal with Lotus Cars who are based in Norfolk. The decision to go with them rather than a “significant betting offer” was because they believe this is the time for self-regulation.

Speaking about gambling-related sponsorship deals, the commercial director said the club has to “assess all opportunities” but has ruled out future betting deals, even if more cash is available from them.

He therefore declared: “the club in its current structure we will never again have a betting brand on the front of our shirts.”

The decision wasn’t an easy one to make though. Mr Jeffrey said that “there is higher revenue derived from betting on the front of the shirt.” He said this is worth “hundreds of thousands” in the Championship but certainly millions in the Premier League. However, signing such deals can cause other revenues to be lost when such deals are signed.

Already this season, Everton, Fulham and Bournemouth have signed new front-of-shirt sponsorship deals with betting companies.

Norwich may well not want to have a gambling-related sponsorship deal but can’t escape such deals. The English Football League is sponsored by Sky Bet, so there’ll be plenty of mentions of that company when games are played.

A quick trip to the Norwich website shows that one of their primary partners is betting company Spreadex with a link to their site.

July 26 sees a meeting of Premier League clubs and the subject of sponsorship will be discussed. This will discuss a voluntary ban on shirt deals with gambling companies. A possible compromise is to still allow sleeve sponsorship and to allow current deals to run their course before new deals with non-gambling companies begin.

The Big Step campaign against gambing-related sponsorship. Ahead of the July 26 meeting, they have issued an open letter to the Premier League clubs. It says that “relying on clubs to self-regulate has not worked so far.”
It added that the consequence of this is “700 gambling adverts in one Premier League match.” There has also been gambling brands’ presence seen in “kids” sections on club websites, in match programmes and in sticker books.”

The open letter said they were disappointed at the delay of the White Paper on gambling reform until at least September. However, they “are in no doubt” that a UK government will one day follow other countries and “restrict the obscene levels of gambling marketing in football.”