It’s true that football fans are more likely to place a bet than the general population – whether online or in a bookmakers. Almost a quarter (23%) of football fans have placed a bet online in the past twelve months, compared to 12% of the general population, for example.
What that tells us is that football is a natural marketplace for betting companies. After all, if more of your customers are in the north of town, why would you set up shop in the south? Similarly, a marketplace for sports betting exists in football, so that’s where we’d expect to see these brands advertise.
What’s really in question for policy-makers is whether betting company sponsorship drives sports betting among football fans or exists simply because that’s where the market is for these companies.
On this, the data is less clear. Take Lotto and Euromillions as an example. Neither product advertises on the shirt fronts of football teams yet the purchase of tickets for both is – like sports betting – much more common among football fans than it is among the general public. Indeed, football fans are far more likely to buy a lottery ticket than they are to bet on sport (see chart above).
Because the relationship between lottery tickets and football fans is not driven by sponsorship, policy-makers may wish to consider the other factors at play in this dynamic as they consider the role of shirt-front branding. The situation is more complex than it at first appears and while a shirt sponsor ban may hit the headlines, it may not address the issue policy-makers wish to tackle.
Photo by Dylan Nolte