Spanish football giants FC Barcelona are the world’s most sponsored club according to a report by Forbes. Manchester United trail second while La Liga rivals Real Madrid are third. Barca makes $247 million every year through sponsorships, $45 million more than the red devils and $47 million higher than Madrid.
Barcelona’s reign at the top nearly ended earlier this year after Audi, Gillette, Betfair and Lassa terminated their contracts with the club. But now, the five-time Champions League winners have sealed a five-year deal with betting firm 1XBet.
“FC Barcelona and 1XBET have signed a new sponsorship deal whereby the online betting company will become a new Global Partner of the Club for the next five seasons,” the club confirmed on its official website.
While FC Barcelona didn’t reveal the financial terms of the contract, 1XBET will be allowed to create marketing materials with the club’s players. The bookie will also be permitted to place ads at Camp Nou’s LED perimeter boards.
1XBET has a similar deal with London-based EPL club Tottenham Hotspurs. The bookmaker sets ads at the Spurs’ new stadium and occasionally works alongside players to create marketing materials.
Barcelona’s latest deal with the bookie brings the total number of major European clubs sponsored by 1XBET to three. Cardiff partnered with the betting firm at the start of last year’s season.
A Little bit about 1XBET
1XBET is a sports betting website established in 2007. The company originated in Russia but soon spread to the western European market, Asia, Africa and South America. It provides betting markets in all major sports. From football to basketball, American football to rugby, you’ll conveniently find betting markets in your favourite sports and leagues on the website.
Before partnering with Tottenham and Barcelona, 1XBET partnered with Asia-based and African sports organisations. 1XBET is the official betting sponsor of the African Cup of Nations, for example. It also holds deals with Italy’s Serie A.
With its growing partnerships in Europe, 1XBET is sending a clear message to top tier betting companies like Bet365 and Betfair that it means business. The company may not be a top 10 betting site on List of Betting Offers currently, but it’s headed there.
Or is it?
More than a dozen bookmakers made partnerships with European clubs in the last five years. Bet365 and Sky Bet sponsor the most clubs, with the former signing partnerships with nine La Liga sides last season.
Sky Bet, on the other hand, is the official sponsor of three English football leagues. Betway, Betfair, Mansion Bet and Dafabet sponsor at least one EPL club each. More betting companies compete for the same European teams.
Again, scores of non-betting companies also battle it out for the chance to sponsor world-class European clubs. Barcelona, for instance, let go UNICEF as its official sponsor in 2010 in a bid to accrue more money from better-paying brands.
The club agreed on a deal with Japan-based Rakuten soon after that, and they’ve been Barcelona’s official jersey sponsors since then. Of course, the La Liga team has partnerships with multiple brands. Nike, Beko, Konami, Oppo and Samba Bank are some of the most familiar partners.
Who Sponsors Real Madrid?
Barcelona reigns supreme in club sponsorships, but who are their rivals’ partners? Air travel brand Fly Emirates are Madrid’s jersey sponsors in a fee valued at €70 million per year. The UAE-based company also sponsors Arsenal, PSG, AC Milan, New York Cosmos and the Arabian Gulf League.
Fly Emirate’s deal with the Los Blancos began in 2013 and was renewed in 2017 for another five years. In both agreements, the air travel’s logo was to appear at the front of Real’s jerseys and be advertised on its LED boards.
Adidas shares a similar agreement although the attire manufacturer’s logo doesn’t appear as prominently as that of Fly Emirates. Surprisingly, Adidas contract with Real Madrid is worth €1 billion and began way back in 1998.
Like Barcelona, Madrid boasts of partnerships with several bookmakers. Bwin is the club’s official partner on online platforms. The bookmaker initiated a deal with the football side in 2007. In the next five years, Bwin’s name appeared on Madrid’s jerseys. But in 2013, the bookie was relegated to represent Madrid online.
The Los Blancos gained a new betting partner in ManBetX last year in a deal that will run until 2020. ManBetX will be the club’s official partners in Asia. The agreement’s details were not revealed, but it involves a “six-figure contract.
Manchester United Sponsors
US carmaker Chevrolet is the principal jersey sponsor of Manchester United. The two brands partnered in 2014 in a deal set to expire in 2021. In true Manchester style, the financial agreement with Chevrolet was not disclosed.
But it’s not difficult to imagine how significant the deal was for United. The club has remained in the top three of the most valuable sports brands in the world since 2014. According to UK sports channels, the red devils receive an estimated £53 million per year from Chevrolet.
Adidas produce United’s kits in a 10-year agreement valued at £750 million. The German-based sports attire manufacturer sealed the deal with United in 2014, replacing Nike. The deal was the biggest in United’s history and the most valuable partnership between a club and an attire manufacturer.
Manchester United surprisingly doesn’t hold partnerships with major gaming companies. The company’s first betting partnership was sealed with Bwin in 2012. Like the agreement in Madrid, Bwin was to become United’s online betting partner.
Last year, the red devils confirmed a second betting partner, MoPlay. Nothing much about the agreement was revealed, but the betting app will remain partners with United for at least two years.
Barcelona rules the sports world in sponsorships, and it’s in no hurry to relinquish its top spot. After a few companies ended their contracts with the club earlier this year, it’s already sealed new partnerships. 1XBET is set to become the club’s betting partner for the next four years.
The club’s rivals, Barcelona and Real Madrid, are also hunting for partnerships too. So, if Barcelona loses any more partners, it may not remain at the top of the world’s sponsorship deals for long.