bwin has become the official online gaming and betting partner of European football giants Manchester United.
The bwin.party-owned European sports betting brand takes over the betting partnership mantle from Betfair, that operated in the role for three seasons after taking over from Manchester-headquartered Betfred.
bwin joins a sponsorship roster that includes insurance company AON (£20m a-year shirt sponsors), Nike (£23.5m-a-year kit supply deal) and DHL (£10.5m a year to sponsor training kit).
The European online sports betting giant’s €16m-a-year shirt sponsorship deal with Spanish La Liga champions Real Madrid is due to expire next summer, with airline Emirates reportedly preparing to step into the breach with an improved deal worth around €22m to the football club.
bwin.party co CEO Norbert Teufelberger also hinted strongly during the company’s last full-year results presentation in March that the online sports betting brand’s shirt sponsorship of Real Madrid, that has proved instrumental in the company building a 20% share of Spain’s online sports betting market, would indeed not be renewed next year. In response to a question from Vaughan Lewis of Morgan Stanley on the status of the company’s existing sponsorships, Teufelberger said:
“We believe our brands are fairly well established, especially our sports brand, in Europe. So we don’t necessarily need that any more. We still have a year to go with Real Madrid, which we like a lot because of the opening of the Spanish market, it’s a ‘nice to have’. Will we extend that contract? Well, I’d rather not…”
The bwin co-chief also Teufelberger also suggested at the time that the company’s higher-profile sponsorship deals, such as that of Real Madrid and for the second tier of Italian football, which saw it renamed Serie bwin – up for renewal this summer – would fall victim to the online gambling group’s ongoing rationalisation of marketing spend away from costly offline branding initiatives.
“What you will see on the sponsorship side is that we have started shifting away from fairly expensive shirt sponsorships over time to digital partnerships,” he said, several months ahead of its new online-focused partnership with the 12-time English Premier League champions going live ahead of the 2012/13 football season.