Premier League is considered by many to be the biggest sports league in the world. Football, or American soccer, is one of the most popular sports around, and the Premier League has one of the largest fan bases of any sports league in the world. Since there are so many people devoting a tremendous amount of time into following their favorite teams, there has been, for a long time, advertising placed strategically on their shirts.
Lately, though, one thing has begun to emerge: many gambling and betting companies have emerged as the leading advertiser or sponsor of these Premier League shirts.
It all started about 14 years ago. During the 2002/03 season, when the Premier League was about 10 years old, Fulham was the first club to feature a gambling or betting establishment on their shirts as a sponsor.
During the past five seasons, though, there has been a significant uptick in the number of gambling or betting industry sponsors on Premier League shirts. In 2012/13, 25% of the sponsors for these teams consisted of gambling or betting establishments. Some of these were advertising casino online games, which can be exciting for people from all walks of life and from many parts of the world.
During the 2013/14 season, there was a drop down to about 15%. It started climbing back up during the 2014/15 season with 20% of their sponsors coming from the gambling and betting arena and then, in 2015/16, this industry accounted for 35% of the sponsorships on shirts in the Premier League.
Now, in the 2016/17 season, they account for 50% sponsors on their coveted shirts.
What has accounted for this change?
There are many theories, but one that strikes a chord in all of this is a change in the betting behavior among the primary clients of gambling and betting establishments. This change of behavior had to do with online gaming and casino opportunities.
The industry itself blossomed between 2005 and 2012. In fact, advertising and marketing for the gambling industry boomed by over 1,400 percent.
While horseracing remains the number one sport for bettors, football is a close second. That makes the connection between the Premier League and gambling and betting establishments to be a natural transition.
Right now, the gambling industry is the fifth largest investor in advertising and marketing within the Premier League. It only follows sporting goods, automotive, airlines, and financial services.
So why do gambling and betting establishments like the Premier League?
It's actually a highly efficient way for these establishments to reach their target audience: sports bettors. Football is one of the top reasons people place bets throughout Europe and other parts of the world, and the English Premier League is the top league people pay attention to.
One thing to realize, though, is that the perennially top teams in the Premier League don't have sponsors from the gambling or betting industry because they have the negotiating power to work out larger agreements, which usually leaves them with sporting goods, automotive, or financial services as their primary base.
The global reach of the gambling and betting industry continues to expand, which means there may be more Premier League teams highlighting these services in the future.