Author: Sebastian Scheplitz
Football is the world’s favorite sport – and by far among the biggest, most expensive TV advertising sectors out there, thanks to its unprecedented reach and enduring appeal across generations of football fans.
After all, buying football advertising is one of the most dependable marketing strategies that all sorts of brands leverage to get in front of massive global audiences all over the world in a variety of broadcasting verticals.
It’s not just the stadium audience serving as a readymade audience for sponsors and advertisers, but also the potential billions of viewers that could catch a glimpse of their respective brands on every video-sharing platform long after the final whistle is blown.
And while advertising on football stadiums has been largely associated with iGaming, considering it is one of the most prominent online casino and sportsbook marketing ideas, any and every company can take advantage of the tens of thousands of fans that flock to stadiums and the juicy 18-34 demographic of football fans sat in front of television sets to their benefit.
We at Translation Royale, together with our sister iGaming marketing agency WeGotGame, have put together a guide on how to surprise, captivate, and engage the throngs of football fans all over the world by advertising on football.
rHere’s how to score a hat trick on football advertising, regardless of your industry.
Pitchside Advertising Boards (aka) Pitchside Hoardings
Football stadium advertising is unique because there is no other opportunity where advertisers and brands have up to hundreds of thousands of people gathered in one place – and up to billions watching at home – for an extended period of time.
Pitchside advertising boards, or pitchside hoardings, are the large sign panels that display advertisements running around the edge of the pitch, including the playing surfaces of stadiums and sports clubs, and their immediate vicinities.
It can be any playing field across sporting disciplines – from football pitches, rugby fields, American football gridirons, basketball courts, horse racing tracks and the like, whether indoor or outdoor.
The primary purpose of pitchside advertising panels is safety, separating the fans from the players, staff to prevent interference on the playing field. But with the potential of drawing thousands in attendance and millions watching at home, pitchside hoardings offer advertisers and companies an unparalleled opportunity to generate exposure through these high-touch, high-impact spots right within eyeshot of every spectator.
Pitchside Advertising Board/Pitchside Hoarding Types
Pitchside hoardings come in two major types: Traditional static advertising boards and Pitch-side LED advertising hoardings.
Traditional static advertising boards, for instance, have been so interwoven into the game’s fabric across generations such that catching a glimpse of a brand can trigger a wave of nostalgia in stadium audiences.
These hoardings are typically created from PVC materials or crafted on wooden frames with weatherproof composites for long-term, all-weather use.
Bolton Wanderers FC, in its 2018-2019 Championship campaign, drew 17,811 spectators at its home grounds at the University of Bolton Stadium, where advertisers could have purchased static stadium advertising starting at GBP 1,500 (EUR 1,743) as shown in the example above.
Pitch-side LED advertising hoardings, on the other hand, continues its dominance among the biggest football clubs of the world, with stadium and venue operators offering advertisers effective and extensive local and international exposure.
After all, advertisers aren’t just getting their brands across stadium spectators when they take out advertising in a football stadium, but millions more via live television coverage of games, local and international broadcast news, sports programs, newspapers, recorded matches, live streams, and so much more – in over 200 territories and counting.
Companies and advertisers demonstrate their alignment with delivering exceptional customer experiences in football events by leveraging pitch-side LED advertising boards as well as traditional static advertising – at a fraction of the price.
The Den, home of Football League Championship contenders Millwall FC, drew an average home attendance of 14,327 spectators in the 2022-2023 season. Companies can take out advertising on their pitch-side LED advertising boards from £350 for non-televised matches, and from £650 for matches televised on Sky/BT Sport.
That’s over 5 million households combined. Good deal?
💡 FUN FACT: Did you know that football stadiums display a different football advertisement depending on the location where network or country spectators watch them?
Through virtual replacement perimeter technology, broadcasters can select market-specific ads in the stadium for audiences in locations with different regulations on gambling advertising (more on this later.)
Football is home to some of the most iconic football-related television adverts. Every year, ads and campaigns flood television screens, igniting the hearts and minds of millions football fans worldwide.
TV ad placements offer brands and advertisers access to the television sets, social media platforms, streaming platforms, and mobile devices of a vast pool of consumers who could be one step from entering the sales funnel.
Football’s biggest event, the World Cup, is the most-watched sporting event in the world, with 5 billion individuals in over 200 countries having recently viewed its latest 2022 Qatar iteration. Not surprisingly, major companies and advertisers dedicate a significant amount of their ad spend towards running television ads to launch ad campaigns at the biggest sporting events and in the most opportune moments in sport.
Major brands, not just iGaming and sports betting companies, for instance, have used the format to launch their latest football betting promotions no doubt leveraging the power of the format to play on the positive emotions and the opportunity to run hyper-contextual targeted campaigns when they are most receptive to receiving marketing messages.
Here’s an example of how to promote sportsbooks through TV ads during major sporting events from US-based sports betting giant DraftKings for Super Bowl 2023.
On the other hand, here’s an example of global beverage giant Coca-Cola and its well-received ‘Believing is Magic’ ad that it ran during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Football is undoubtedly the world’s favorite sport to bet on, and the link between sports betting and football is inextricable. The fact of the matter is, there is a thriving demographic of individuals who enjoy betting on their favorite teams or football players, and the thrill of possibly winning real money can spice up what is already an emotionally-charged experience.
When we think of football promotions, we often think of sponsorships. And one of the first things that comes to mind whenever we think of football sponsorships is the eye-watering amounts of revenues they can generate for football clubs in merchandising and corporate sponsorships alike.
Financial sponsorships involve cash contributions supporting a football club’s operations. Brands and advertisers that do so typically receive prominent logo placement on sportswear.
Football clubs and individual players can receive sportswear sponsorships, from clothing, to boots, to equipment, for them to sign and enter into contracts with, with the brand getting massive exposure across all major platforms in doing so.
Some of the most renowned football clubs work with major sports brands like Nike, Under Armour, or Adidas, while smaller sportswear brands may focus on smaller leagues and regional athletes as their target markets dictate.
For instance, 2023 English treble winners Manchester City FC signed a 10-year kit deal with multinational German sportswear brand Puma back in 2019, in a deal worth £650 million over 10 years. Staggering.
Likewise, we can plainly see the team’s primary sponsor, the United Arab Emirates’ national carrier Etihad Airways, emblazoned right in front of their jersey.
And what about this infinitely excellent Liverpool FC away kit sponsored by financial services giant Standard Chartered plc?
Events sponsorships involve sponsors, advertisers, and brands supporting a particular competition, tournament, or exhibition sporting event. Companies can have their logos and marketing assets on event banners, static and digital signage, pitchside hoardings, and other aspects of internet marketing and press purposes.
Examples of event sponsorships include England’s cup competitions. For instance, the Football Association Challenge Cup, better known as the FA Cup, is known as the Emirates FA Cup for sponsorship reasons. The Football League Cup, on the other hand, is referred to as the Carabao Cup. The English Football League Trophy, meanwhile, was referred to as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last season.
The Belgian top-flight is referred to as the Jupiler Pro League, sponsored by the country’s most popular brew.
Sportbetting sponsorships are also a common sight on football kits, particularly on the chest logo or on the sleeves. For instance, London-based 2023 Emirates FA Cup winner West Ham FC’s kit features Super Group-owned sportsbook Betway prominently on the chest logo.
Relegated Southampton FC featured sports betting operator Cloudbet, while resurgent Newcastle United FC had Asia-based sportsbook Fun88 emblazoned in front of their jerseys.
Football Advertising Rules and Regulations for iGaming Companies
Public sentiment is turning against pervasive gambling advertising. Based on a survey published on the Guardian, 52% of Brits support a total ban on gambling advertising. Meanwhile, a survey commissioned by Germany’s Commissioner on Narcotic Drugs Burkhard Blienert indicated that 57% of Germans supported a similar ban.
One thing’s for sure: the days of iGaming companies getting massive publicity with front-of-shirt advertising are numbered in the English Premier League, with UK regulators’ emphasis moving towards responsible gambling sponsorship. The new regulations for the United Kingdom are a U-turn for what was once one of the most open jurisdictions for football advertising.
All Premier League clubs have unanimously voted to phase out gambling brands and logos on the front of shirts from the 2026-2027 seasons onwards. Gambling brands and logos are still permitted to appear on shirts from 2026-2027 onwards, but they cannot be at the shirt’s front and center.
Well, that’s more shirt space for other major companies to take up.
Nevertheless, here are some notable football advertising rules and regulations iGaming companies need to be aware of in order not to run afoul of the law:
Not too long ago, sports betting was forbidden in all states except Nevada. In 2018, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, opening the door for states to decide whether to legalize sports betting or not. Five years later, 35 states and the District of Columbia have legalized sports betting, with more to come.
However, the wild west days of iGaming advertising might be coming to an end after House Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) proposed “The Betting on Our Future Act,” which will outlaw sportsbook advertising on TV, radio, and the internet.
A new organization called The Brazilian Institute for Responsible Gaming (IBJR) has drawn up guidelines on self-regulation in anticipation of the eventual launch of fully legalized sports betting in the country.
The code’s proposals include a network TV ban on gambling advertising in Brazil from 06:00 to 21:00 to reduce potential exposure to minors. Sportsbook ads on TV will also be banned one hour before, one hour after, and the entire duration of the sporting event.
Germany bans online casino and sportsbook advertising between 06:00 to 21:00 to reduce exposure to younger audiences.
Moreover, Germany controls affiliate advertising, which prohibits them from revenue sharing based compensation. Online casino advertising is also prohibited from using misleading verbiage or appeal to minors.
Direct online casino marketing is also regulated with caps placed on the number of phone calls and text messages operators can send to clients.
The Swedish government is tightening up its online casino advertising laws in the country. One such plan is allowing advertising to run after 21:00 to prevent minors from viewing them, besides mandating new gambling adverts to contain a visible disclaimer about the risks.
Foreign casinos are forbidden from advertising to Swedish residents, and online casinos are regulated as to how they market themselves in the Scandinavian country. Nevertheless, players from Sweden can still access offshore online casinos and sports betting sites.
The Final Word
Football is the world’s most popular sport, and businesses have long taken advantage of its timeless global appeal and passionate fanbase to attract customers. Whether it’s stadium advertising, TV ads, sponsorships, or iGaming and football promotions, there has never been a shortage of ways how companies have used football to market to new audiences.
Businesses can take advantage of the passionate fan base of the world’s favorite game, and in doing so, create shared experiences with their audiences. By crafting promotions and unique football-related customer experiences linked to football, companies of all sizes can engage customers on a deeper level, thereby increasing the chances of customer retention.
Nevertheless, as with any industry, it’s important for businesses to be aware of the changing regulations that govern the sport and how it is advertised to its billions of followers around the world. By being informed about the regulatory implications to consider when harnessing the “beautiful game” in advertising and marketing campaigns, businesses can better weigh out the advantages and disadvantages.
Image Source: Canva
How did you like Sebastian Scheplitz’s blog post “Promo Ideas During Football Matches: How Can Brands Leverage Football Advertising?”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂