Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Sunderland AFC has announced that Spreadex, its front-of-shirt sponsor, will allow fans to purchase adult home jerseys devoid of any front-of-shirt branding for the upcoming 2024/25 season.

Short Summary:

  • Spreadex to offer non-branded adult home shirts.
  • Decision follows collaborative discussions between Spreadex and Sunderland AFC.
  • Move aligns with responsible gambling principles.

Spreadex Opts for Responsible Sponsorship with Sunderland AFC

In a groundbreaking move, Spreadex, the UK-based financial trading and sports betting firm, has committed to offering Sunderland AFC adult home shirts without its front-of-shirt branding for the upcoming 2024/25 season. This decision stems from a series of collaborative discussions between Spreadex and Sunderland AFC, initiated to provide fans with the option of purchasing non-branded shirts.

Spreadex has been the principal partner of Sunderland AFC since 2022. This partnership was marked by a three-year agreement which saw the Spreadex Sports logo emblazoned across Sunderland’s home and away jerseys. The partnership also included an array of advertising opportunities, from LED perimeter boards to campaigns across Sunderland’s digital platforms. David MacKenzie, CEO of Spreadex, previously expressed his excitement about the collaboration, stating:

“We are overjoyed to be partnering with Sunderland AFC at such an exciting time for the Club after their promotion back to the Championship. At Spreadex, we have also seen strong recent results as we continue to grow as a company…”

While the initial partnership was celebrated, the move to offer non-branded shirts arises amid increasing scrutiny surrounding gambling sponsorships in football. The Premier League has already set a self-imposed deadline of 2026/27 to phase out gambling companies from front-of-shirt sponsorship. Although this regulation doesn’t impact Sunderland directly, the ethical considerations are resonating throughout the football community, including in the GamblingNews.co.uk.

Industry Response and Competitive Landscape

Sunderland’s decision appears even more progressive when juxtaposed with recent announcements by other clubs doubling down on gambling sponsorships. For instance, Wolverhampton Wanderers have secured a deal with LeoVegas Group, naming BetMGM UK as their official European betting partner. Only weeks prior, the Wolves club confirmed DEBET as their new front-of-shirt sponsor, describing this agreement as the “biggest in the club’s history.” This contrasting behaviour adds a noteworthy dimension to Sunderland’s initiative.

Andy MacKenzie, Head of Marketing at Spreadex, affirmed the company’s commitment to responsible gambling while addressing the new initiative:

“We have a fantastic relationship with the Club and were only too happy to work on making some replica kits available to fans without our logo on the front. We appreciate some supporters may want the choice of having non-branded shirts to buy and are delighted to have been able to help make this happen.”

A Balanced Approach to Sponsorship and Social Responsibility

It’s essential to recognise the balanced approach adopted by Spreadex in this context. Earlier this year, Kindred Group gained attention for donating its front-of-shirt space on Middlesbrough FC’s jersey to the MFC Foundation during a notable league match. This kind of gesture underscores a growing trend where betting companies are increasingly sensitive to their social responsibilities.

MacKenzie echoed similar sentiments in his comments on Spreadex’s efforts to maintain a positive relationship with the fanbase while emphasising safe and responsible gambling principles:

“We look forward to continuing our support for the Club and fans with this initiative and in growing the partnership with continued competitions and giveaways to supporters throughout the season.”

Available Options for Fans and Community Impact

Starting Friday, the new non-branded jerseys will be available for purchase online and at the stadium store at Black Cat House. This initiative dovetails seamlessly with other community-centred efforts by Spreadex. For example, since the inception of their partnership with Sunderland, Spreadex pledged to donate £100 for every home goal scored to the Club’s designated charity. Such efforts are designed to foster a stronger community spirit while simultaneously promoting healthy engagement with the sport.

Spreadex’s focus on responsible gambling also aligns with broader industry trends. Recent years have seen a rise in public concern over gambling’s impact on young and vulnerable fans. This concern has sparked regulatory changes and more responsible practices within the sector. As indicated in the release, Spreadex wants to ensure it continues to be a responsible player in a highly scrutinised industry:

“We recognise that for some people, gambling can become a problem, and we are committed to providing safe and responsible gambling within a regulated environment.”

The Future of Sponsorship in Football

While this pioneering move by Sunderland AFC and Spreadex is indeed a step in the right direction, it remains a unique case compared to other lower-league teams. Many clubs rely heavily on the revenue generated through such sponsorships to stay financially afloat, as highlighted in reports from Gambling News. However, Sunderland’s decision might serve as a blueprint for other clubs, showing that sponsorship deals can evolve to meet social and ethical standards without entirely sacrificing the financial support they provide.

Through this initiative, both Spreadex and Sunderland AFC are setting a new standard for ethically minded sponsorships in football. By giving fans the option of non-branded jerseys, they are not only attending to the growing concern over gambling advertising but are also making a robust statement on the importance of social responsibility in sports.

As the football community watches closely, it will be fascinating to see if other clubs follow Sunderland’s lead, heralding a new era of conscientious partnerships in the sport. Until then, Sunderland AFC fans can enjoy their 2024/25 season, knowing their club and its sponsors prioritise their well-being and community values.

By admin

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