Sky Bet has announced a five-year extension of its multi-million pound sponsorship deal with the English Football League (EFL), the soccer body governing the three divisions below the Premier League.
The British gambling company, which first partnered with the EFL in 2013, will continue as the title sponsor of English soccer’s second, third and fourth tiers, known as the Sky Bet Championship, Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two.
Under the terms of the deal, which runs from 2019 until the summer of 2024, Sky Bet will see its logo on all club shirts, with its branding set to be displayed in stadiums at all EFL matches.
The Leeds-headquartered operation will remain as the exclusive betting and gaming partner of the EFL, and retains the right to livestream 16 midweek Championship fixtures on a ‘watch and bet’ basis throughout the season. It will also remain as the title partner of the three divisions’ end-of-season promotion play-offs.
The new agreement, which is believed to represent a 20 per cent year-on-year increase from 2019/20 on the current deal, includes a marketing campaign led by Sky Bet which centres around a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) designed to help customers gamble safely.
The campaign, called ‘When the fun stops. Stop’ is to be made visible online, on radio and TV and across all official EFL and club print publications, and features a TV advert that will be shown during Sky Sports’ Premier League and Championship coverage, as well as messaging on shirt sleeve patches designed to encourage users to stay in control when gambling.
The deal will see the money the EFL receives divided equally among the 72 clubs in the EFL’s three divisions.
The news comes after English soccer’s governing body the Football Association (FA) announced in June that it would end sponsorship deals with gambling companies, following a three-month review by the body in relation to several high-profile gambling controversies in the sport, the most high profile of which saw English soccer player Joey Barton receive an 18-month ban from soccer for gambling offenses.
The government in October launched a consultation on possible measures to deal with problem gambling.
"We’re delighted to sign this new deal with the EFL and believe the additional focus we and the league are both placing on responsible gambling will show that well run betting operators can play an active part in raising awareness of problem gambling,” said Richard Flint, chief executive of Sky Bet.
“By using our sponsorship and marketing capabilities to highlight how customers can gamble safely we hope to ensure that nothing gets in the way of people’s enjoyment of sport, definitely not betting.”
"This agreement represents the largest title sponsorship in EFL history and once again illustrates how our commercial operations are maximising the revenue opportunities and exposure for the EFL and its clubs,” added Shaun Harvey, chief executive of the EFL.
"Sky Bet has been a significant and valued partner since first sponsoring the EFL in 2013/14. It has helped support the growth of the EFL and its competitions and I would like to thank Sky Bet, not only for its efforts in the partnership to date, but also for its vision and foresight during the negotiation phase."