Partnerships between betting operators and sports organisations, particularly top-tier football clubs, have come under the spotlight in recent months.
Speaking at the Betting on Sports Europe event in London last month, Joe McCallum, Director of Sportsbook at Sportsbet.io, discussed the company’s arrangement with Southampton FC of the Premier League.
“We were very fortunate when we were looking for sponsorships when we came across Southampton,” he remarked. “The team was very inventive in its approach to partnerships. They created this circle of values.
”They then asked us to create our own circle of values. That then made us think about how we work closely with brands. There really were some fantastic things we did with Southampton.
“We weren’t so precious about colours or the brand, we embraced that without losing the authenticity of the team’s strip. Yes we were pleased to get our branding out there, but we were also happy that we could respect the heritage of the football team.”
A core element of Sportsbet.io’s sponsorship arrangement with the Saints has revolved around fan engagement, particularly with regards to the use of Fan Tokens, an emerging blockchain-based product that has been embraced by many but criticised by some.
The use of cryptocurrency as a payment method has also played a key role in the collaboration, allowing the club to receive payments at the culmination of each system using the Bitcoin.
“We actually made sure that we weren’t price-led, we wanted to be more focused on the engaging content. Recently, we launched Southampton crypto fan tokens, we’ve donated bitcoins – the fans then make a decision on whether they hold that and on how they spend that money.
“It’s all about the partnership and trying to embrace fans. The fans are the foundation of every football club and we should always try to respect that.”
First signed in August 2020, Sportsbet.io’s partnership with Southampton saw it replace LD Sports as the club’s front-of-shirt sponsor, later renewing the deal in April after reaching an arrangement with Sportsbet operator Coingaming Group.