Spanish News Site Accuses Betting Firm Of “Colonizing” La Liga

Sponsorship agreements in professional football don’t tend to be particularly controversial on the surface. Undoubtedly they are the result of heavy competition and intense financial negotiation behind the scenes. But as far as the public is concerned, sponsors simply come and go, wit hotel only real effects for fans being that jerseys can look different and stadiums can be renamed or stocked with different billboards.

Because of this it was fairly surprising to see El Economista, a Spanish news site active in numerous Spanish-speaking countries around the world, accusing a betting firm of “colonizing” La Liga with its deals. The criticism was aimed specifically at bet365, which is a firm that’s been involved with football for quite some time, as opposed to some new company looking to make a splash.

The company is probably best known for being the primary sponsor for Stoke City in the English football system. Currently playing in the Championship, Stoke plays in a stadium branded bet365 Stadium, and its jerseys have the company’s logo across the chest. This makes bet365 fairly visible to the football world already, though it’s worth noting so does being a betting firm by nature. In fact, bet365 takes things a step further in this regard, not only letting fans bet on matches but setting itself apart as one of the few major firms that facilitates live streaming of games such that people can watch while making in-play bets. That may not be a meaningful distinction to non-bettors, but it makes bet365 particularly prominent in football.

The fact that this is a well-known company already closely intertwined with the football world makes El Economista’s criticism almost strange on the surface. Again, if this were some new company looking to make a splash it would be more understandable, whereas bet365’s involvement is nothing new. That said, when you read into why the colonization claim was made, it does make a little bit more sense. The company’s expansion into La Liga consists of sponsorship deals with 10 different teams, lasting at least until 2020. The list of teams that have signed on consists of Athletic, Betis, Celta, Eibar, Espanyol, Getafe, Huesca, Rayo Vallecano, Valladolid, and Villarreal.

However, even with this having made more of a splash than your average sponsorship deal, we shouldn’t expect for it to make much of a difference from the fan perspective. Looking through La Liga kits for 2018/19, you still don’t see “bet365” the way you do with Stoke City (or the way Leganes has Betway plastered across its chest). So, while the betting giant may have made a major play for financial influence in La Liga, it’s not going to be particularly visible, and it doesn’t appear to be poised to impact any one club more than others.

Biggest sponsorships (infographic)

Football teams have such a large following and as a result, has led to the sport becoming the biggest in the world. With teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Barcelona having such large brands and passionate fans, businesses have been getting involved in the sport to get more exposure. Even sports odds bookmakers run multiple adverts and promotions to get more people involved.


At the highest level, these sponsorships tend to be multi-million pound contracts and they tend to bring in the majority of a clubs revenue. The £750 million 10 year deal between Manchester United and Adidas was the largest kit deal at the time. Despite the huge cost, the deal works for both club and sponsor – Adidas will advertised every time the team is playing for the next 10 years. Meanwhile, Manchester United will receive the money and use it how they please.


RUMOURS: Mourinho on England manager shortlist

The Portuguese could be offered the job if his reported move to Manchester United fails to materialise, with Roy Hodgson’s future with the Three Lions on the line at Euro 2016

The Football Association have placed Jose Mourinho on their shortlist of options to become England manager, according to The Sun.

Roy Hodgson will not be offered a new contract if the Three Lions struggle at Euro 2016, meaning a new man will be needed to take charge ahead of World Cup qualifying.

Gary Neville was thought to be first-choice, but the FA hierarchy are concerned by Valencia’s poor form since the former Manchester United defender took charge in December.

And Mourinho is seen as a contingency plan if his reported move to Manchester United fails to materialise this summer.


Four ways to get your post-season football fix

It’s the time of year that every football fan dreads – after months of excitement, the season comes to an end in what seems like the blink of an eye. We’ve just a few weeks to go now until some of the world’s biggest football events come to an end, from the Champions League to the South African Premier Division.

A three-month break from football is every fan’s nightmare, but help is at hand for those who can’t face being away from the beautiful game for too long. If you’re finding yourself feeling depressed about the lack of football over the next few months, here are a few ways in which you can still get your football fix.

Don’t watch it – play it!

With the football season kicking off in the height of the South African summer, it seems a shame that most of us would have spent these sunny days staying in on the sofa catching up on the latest games. Winter may be upon us now, but you can still enjoy the competitive elements of football by signing up to an indoor non-professional league with your friends.

Engage in the virtual world

Football may be great to watch or play, but how about combining the two by controlling how it’s played without leaving your sofa? FIFA 15 is still ticking all the boxes for seasoned console fans, largely thanks to its constant new updates to improve gameplay.

Explore football from the player’s view

The 2010 World Cup in South Africa gave the nation a great excuse to show off its football stadiums, so why not cure those winter blues by taking a stroll around the stadiums themselves? For example, consider taking a tour around the National Stadium in Soweto, which was known colloquially as Soccer City during the events. Tours last for 90 minutes and are available every day of the week.

Look into other sports

It may seem like a desolate football wasteland for the next three months, but this is the perfect opportunity to explore other sports, particularly ball sports. For example, in June and July, the globally popular Wimbledon Grand Slam takes place, while you can also catch Royal Ascot and the US PGA Tour.

Compared to Zidane & Riquelme – Introducing Hachim Mastour, AC Milan's 15-year-old wonderkid

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