bwin is to launch co-branded social gaming products with Manchester United “in countries that do not yet allow real-money online sports betting”, it announced yesterday.
bwin.party co-CEO Nobert Teufelberger announced the strategy as the company officially launched its three-year betting and gaming partnership with the three-time European Cup winners at Old Trafford yesterday, with United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and players Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in attendance. The deal was first reported last month.
He said the Red Devils’ estimated 569 million followers outside bwin’s core European markets would provide the company with “a great opportunity to offer jointly designed and innovative products” in territories which had yet to regulate online sports betting.
The betting partnership deal, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, also includes perimeter-board signage on match days, bwin-branded betting kiosks in the stadium and access to players for marketing and promotional campaigns.
The bwin and PartyPoker brand owner announced in May that it was to spend invest US$50m over the next two years on establishing a standalone social gaming business. Prior to its merger with PartyGaming to form bwin.party, bwin in September 2009 purchased UnitedGames, a developer and publisher of Massive Multiplayer and branded social games, with a portfolio that now includes several football-based titles.
bwin joins a 28-strong Manchester United 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 circa €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 per annum 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. He told investors: “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…”