Back in February 2020, The Spanish Ministry for Consumer Affairs proposed a new Royal Decree which as of last month has been passed. This decree was to regulate how gambling operators advertise and sponsor teams in Spanish football. Teams in the top three tiers in Spain have been given until May 2021 to cut all ties with gambling operators who sponsor them. Any deals that have an expiry date beyond the given date will not be allowed to expire.
Over the past decade, sports betting as become more commonplace across Europe, especially as you can place bets online and on mobile apps. Gone are the days where gamblers would head to their local bookmakers to place their bets. It was found that in Q2 2017 there was a turnover of 1.4million Euros on Spanish football alone. Over a million Spaniards have declared themselves as active gamblers online.
Spanish Football Sponsorship
Going back to the sponsorship of Spanish football teams, over 600 million euros are generated every single year through sponsorship. When you compare that to how much teams earn from TV coverage it is a minuscule 1.5 million euros. Gambling is also prevalent in the adverts during a La Liga game. Around 40% of adverts seen during a game have a gambling element to it. Moving to the actual sponsorship of the teams. Around 75% of La Liga teams are sponsored by betting operators including Europa League holders, Sevilla and Valencia. Sevilla’s deal was said to be worth around 5 million euros a season. Other teams such as Alaves, Cadiz and Granada are rumoured to be lucrative deals with betting operators too. The La Liga itself is also involved with an official partnership with a gambling company.
How it compares to the UK
As we found in our expose back in May 2020, where we explored the relationship between football and gambling. We found that at the beginning of the 19/20 season only three Premier League clubs were without a partnership with a betting company. Half of all the clubs in England’s top tier have a betting brand as their primary shirt sponsor. In the Championship, just over 70% of clubs had a betting brand as their shirt sponsor last season.
How Spain’s New Rules Could Affect The UK
Spain is joining Italy in banning gambling sponsorships in 2021. These changes could lead to increased pressure on the UK, Germany and other key territories to impose the same kind of restrictions. Whilst these changes might be what those in power want however there are some serious costs associated with bringing in this level of enforcement into play. The cost to bookmakers in Spain is estimated to be 80 million euros as they are ending their contracts with these clubs early, this is on top of the lost income from the exposure. It has also been argued that due to the current world situation La Lifa clubs have already taken a huge financial hit and this major change at this point in time could be really damaging to teams and the sport on the whole as some teams would struggle to find sponsors bringing in the same level of income in the current climate.