Sky Bet re-commits to EFL paying 20 per cent more
Sky Bet, the betting arm of the UK-based pay-television operator, is to continue to lend its name to the English soccer leagues below the Premier League after extending its sponsorship of the English Football League for a further five years.
Under the renewal, the company will remain the title sponsor of the second-tier Championship, third-tier League One and fourth-tier League Two until at least the end of the 2023-24 season.
Sky Bet also retains exclusive betting and gaming partnership rights and adds the EFL’s new international over-the-top streaming platform iFollow to its sponsorship package.
The company will have rights to live-stream 16 midweek EFL Championship fixtures, as well as other content from EFL stadiums via its betting website and apps.
In addition, Sky Bet will continue to sponsor the EFL’s player and coach awards, as well as the season-ending Play-Offs.
According to the EFL, the renewed deal is worth 20 per cent more than the current agreement, which is due to expire in 2019.
However, it will be regarded as somewhat controversial in the wake of the decision of England's Football Association to cut ties with bookmaker Ladbrokes in June.
The FA was under pressure to distance itself from the betting industry, for integrity reasons, and decided to “cease all sponsorships with betting companies” at the end of last season.
The EFL said today that “the heart of the relationship [with Sky Bet] is a new marketing campaign” that will focus on gambling safely.
The Premier League does not have a betting sponsor although many of its clubs have high-profile deals with companies in the sector.
Sky Bet has given its name to EFL competitions since 2013, when it replaced energy company Npower as part of a deal which included media rights and was worth an initial £300 million ($446 million).
In September, Sky extended its exclusive live rights deal with the EFL in a new five-year agreement worth £600 million.
Commenting on the renewal with Sky Bet, EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “This agreement represents the largest title sponsorship in EFL history and once again illustrates how our commercial operations are maximising the revenue opportunities and exposure for the EFL and its Clubs.
“Sky Bet has been a significant and valued partner since first sponsoring the EFL in 2013/14. They have helped support the growth of the EFL and its competitions and I would like to thank Sky Bet, not only for their efforts in the partnership to date, but also for their vision and foresight during the negotiation phase.
“I am delighted that an agreement has been reached and the EFL is looking forward to continuing to work with our friends at Sky Bet from now until 2024 on enhancing the experience for supporters whilst ensuring this is done in the most appropriate and responsible way.”