Since GVC Holdings decided to withdraw from sponsoring sports, Ladbrokes will not renew its sponsorship of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) when it expires at the end of the 2019/20 season. The League is now starting to look around for new candidates.
The partnership has marked a massive success for SPFL
Scotland’s four professional leagues have seen a huge turn for the better during Ladbrokes sponsorship, which began back in the season of 2015/16. Scottish football has grown remarkably as has the number of spectators that regularly come to watch the games. Even though the deal, which became the largest in the history of Scottish league football, is now coming to an end, it is leaving SPFL in a better place than where it was found.
Neil Doncaster, Chief Executive of SPFL, confirmed this sentiment.
“We’re proud of the tremendous partnership we’ve enjoyed with Ladbrokes since 2015 and, given the growth of Scottish football over the past four years, with seasonal crowds up almost 20% to 4.9m, we’re in great shape to attract significant interest from new sponsors, both nationally and internationally,” he declared.
Doncaster went on to add that he is confident their current standing will enable them to find a new sponsor in time for next season.
“We’ll no doubt have strong interest from potential title sponsors in light of the unrivalled level of nationwide coverage, passion and drama that the SPFL consistently delivers, plus our live TV coverage confirmed up to 2025, and we expect a busy period of discussions over the coming months.”
Mark Chambers, Managing Director for Retail at Ladbrokes, commented on the SPFL sponsorship, saying:
“We have enjoyed a very positive relationship with the SPFL and all the clubs involved and would like to thank them for their support and hard work in making this sponsorship such a success over the last few years.”
GVC is backing out from all sports sponsorships
It is not only SPFL that GVC is leaving, the sports betting and gaming company is withdrawing its presence from the whole sector of advertising in live sports. Having announced these intentions this April, the company has already started donating its existing partnerships to charities, which have replaced the brand’s logos on interview backdrops and pitchside hoardings. While the shirt sponsorship deal with Sunderland from English League One was given over to the Children with Cancer UK charity, the rest of them went to GambleAware, a charity for problem gambling, and its Bet Regret initiative. It is Bet Regret’s logo that can now be seen in place of previous GVC’s brands logos.
The whole departure from the live sports scene began when GVC became a major supporter of the “whistle-to-whistle” campaign, which called for a ban on advertising gambling products during sports events. This came into effect with the start of this football season. The company, however, decided to take things further and demand that a total ban should be imposed on broadcast advertising by gambling operators and football shirt sponsorships should be ended. The latter initiative has also been taken up by Paddy Power which recently launched its “Save Our Shirt” campaign.
The gambling group is taking up a leading role in promoting responsible gaming
GVC Holdings has been very vocal about responsible approach to gambling and protection and treatment for those with a gambling problem. Only a few months ago, the provider has pledged to increase the voluntary contribution towards funding the treatment of gaming addiction from 0.1% to 1% of its annual UK revenue. It was joined in its vow by four other big UK companies, including bet365, Flutter Entertainment, Sky Betting and Gaming, and William Hill. The new practice is expected to be implemented over the next five years and should result in bringing their joint contribution to £60 million per year.
Still further, the same five companies took it upon themselves to establish a committee on funding for responsible gaming. Its mission will be to publish “recommendations on most appropriate mechanisms for receiving and administering funds and monitoring their deployment,” while accepting input from all parties involved in the gambling scene, from regulators to operators and those with lived experience. The Conservative Party peer, Lord Chadligton, has been named the chair of the committee and is expected to announce the rest of the members around mid-September.