Sponsorship Extension for 32Red with Rangers
32Red, a UK online gambling operator owned by the Kindred Group, has just added a two-year extension to its shirt sponsorship deal with Scottish Premiership football club Rangers. It will remain as the main club sponsor until the end of the 2020-21 campaign, by which time the brand will have featured on the football team’s shirts for seven consecutive seasons.
Both parties benefit from this partnership, with Rangers’ managing director Stewart Robertson stating: “32Red have been a loyal supporter and partner of the club since 2014 and we are pleased that their brand will continue to be on the front of our shirts”. Neil Banbury at the Kindred Group added: “32Red’s partnership with Rangers has been hugely beneficial for our business and we are thrilled to have extended that association once again.”
The deal extends an already successful partnership. 32Red’s branding can be seen on the front of the players’ shirts, on the official club training kits, and on the advertising hoardings around the team’s Ibrox home stadium. This is, of course, excellent publicity as Rangers has been in the spotlight numerous times in the past few years. In May 2018, Steve Gerrard took over as manager of Rangers on a four-year contract. As a former star at Liverpool FC and captain of the England team, Gerrard drew a lot of attention to the Scottish team. Banbury said, “Steven Gerrard’s appointment as manager at the start of the season, a Premiership title bid, and the return of European football is exactly the opportunity we saw back in 2014, and we look forward to many more exciting days and nights at a packed Ibrox, like those we have been enjoying this season.”
32Red’s Other Sponsorships
32Red has previously sponsored a number of other football teams. Aston Villa’s kit was sponsored by 32Red between 2006 and 2008. Ten years later, the company sponsored the same team again. In June 2009, 32Red were announced as the official main sponsors of Swansea City Football Club, although the deal ended early after the 2012-13 season. Crawley Town were next, with a two-year deal starting in 2013. The partnership with Rangers started in 2014 but since then 32Red has continued to sign sponsorship deals with other clubs too. In 2016 a deal was signed between the betting company and Leeds United, and in 2018 sponsorship was given to Middlesbrough, Derby County, and Preston North End.
Rangers’ kits are supplied by Hummel and have been since 2018, following the end of a five-year contract with Puma. Utilita features as the back of shirt sponsor and has done since 2017. Before 32Red became the official front of shirt sponsor in 2014, the club had previously been sponsored by numerous alcoholic drink brands. Blackthorn appeared on the front of the shirts for a short time in 2013-2014. Tennent’s and Carling were sponsors before the cider company, in 2010-2013 and 2003-2010 respectively. During 32Red’s sponsorship, Rangers faced NK Osijek in the 2018-19 UEFA Europa League. Due to Croatia’s ban on the advertisement of betting, the team played in unsponsored training gear.
Criticism of Betting Sponsorship in Football
While the sponsorship deal is of great benefit to both 32Red and Rangers, not everyone will be so pleased with the partnership. GVC, the UK’s largest gambling company and owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, announced a proposal earlier this week to protect problem gamblers, including voluntarily ending all sponsorship deals that promote the brand on football shirts or pitch-side advertising hoardings. The company currently sponsors the shirts of both Sunderland and Charlton in the third tier of English football. GVC says that curbing the ads will “allow fans to watch their favourite teams without seeing any incentives to bet” and has called on others in the gambling industry to follow suit.
”While the vast majority of our customers enjoy our products responsibly, it is high time that the industry did more to protect its customers from potential harm. As the UK’s largest gambling company, and owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, we at GVC are doing exactly that.”– Kenny Alexander, Chief Executive, GVC
Despite GVC’s plea for others in the gambling industry to end their sponsorship deals as well, it seems unlikely that any governing bodies will be enforcing this any time soon. While the Gambling Commission has issued statements claiming that the voluntary levy paid by all bookmakers, bingo halls, and online betting companies, is not working, the government insists that the current system is working and “continues to have support from government and industry”.