Paddy Power urges end to betting shirt sponsorship in football
Flutter Entertainment brand Paddy Power has launched a new campaign urging betting operators to stop sponsoring football shirts, as it revealed its own sponsorship of English Championship club Huddersfield Town’s jersey was a hoax.
Paddy Power has drawn heavy criticism this week after it announced details of a new commercial deal with Huddersfield, with much of this directed at the size of the logo on the front of the team’s shirts.
Fans had suspected the move was a hoax, but after the team wore the branded shirt in a pre-season friendly with Rochdale, the English Football Association (FA) contacted Huddersfield over concerns the deal breached its guidelines in terms of shirt sponsorship.
However, Paddy Power has now revealed the move was a stunt to promote its new campaign, with the aim of highlighting the issues around shirt sponsorship.
The ‘Save Our Shirt’ initiative highlights how in the 2019-20 football season, over half the teams in England’s top two divisions will be sponsored by a bookmaker – with 14 teams in the second-tier Championship bearing a betting brand’s logo.
However, Huddersfield will not be one of these clubs, with the team set to play in a shirt without a main sponsor (pictured). Paddy Power has relinquished the space on the shirt – which it would be due as title sponsor – and is encouraging others to do the same.
“Shirt sponsorship in football has gone too far; we accept that there is a role for sponsors around football, but the shirt should be sacred,” Paddy Power’s marketing director, Victor Corcoran, said.
“So today we are calling on other sponsors to join the Save Our Shirt campaign, and give something back to the fans. As a sponsor, we know our place, and it’s not on your shirt.”
Octagon and VCCP Blue worked with Paddy Power on the initial hoax sponsor and will continue to support the bookmaker with the campaign, with plans to promote it across television, print, digital and social media.
Henry Nash, head of strategy at Octagon, said: “In the face of football’s crass commercialisation and relentless exploitation of fans, our ambition was to do something good for the game. There was really only one brand brave enough to pull this off.
“We’re beyond thrilled that Paddy Power have taken a stand with Save Our Shirt. We believe this idea will have a lasting legacy – not just on the brand but on the game itself.”