Germany experts reject sports sponsorship ban

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The experts pointed to sponsorships’ importance to sports in Germany and the subsequent loss of funding such a ban would cause as the primary reason for its rejection.

However, managing director of the Association of Sports Sponsorship Providers, Inka Müller-Schmäh, outlined that a legal framework was needed to ensure sport sponsorships continued to help German sport.

“Sports sponsorship must remain possible, no matter where, when and how sport takes place and is broadcast,” Müller-Schmäh said.

Gambling industry in Germany facing problems

The German market has faced real issues with the black market, with tight restrictions driving players towards offshore operators.

A 2023 study from the University of Leipzig found the channelisation rate towards legal German online operators was just 50.7%. With nearly half of all German players betting with illegal operators, there are concerns over the safety of bettors.

Operators must not advertise online or on television between 9pm and 6am. Additionally, there are restrictions on showing sports clips in advertising, while there is also a ban on partnering with sports personalities and influencers.

Luka Andric, managing director of the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV), pointed to the “extremely strict” restrictions as a problem.

“It’s probably one of the strictest around, unless you take a monopoly system or somewhere where you have a complete ban on advertising,” Andric told iGB.

Sponsorship bans elsewhere in Europe

As of July 2023, operators in the Netherlands have been banned from sports sponsorships. There is currently a transitionary period to allow existing agreements to come to a conclusion.

France also introduced new sports sponsorship regulations in 2023. French regulator Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ) attributed this to the changing role of sponsorships in France.

Between 2022 and 2023, sport partnerships with legal operators in France increased by 20% to €40.7m (£34.8m/$44.3m). Also, clubs penned €15m worth of sponsorships with unlicensed sites for African and Asian players.

Last April, English Premier League clubs announced a collective agreement to stop the sponsorship of gambling companies on the front of shirts.

That will come into effect from the conclusion of the 2025-26 campaign. However, that hasn’t quelled interest in the market. Aston Villa recently agreed a deal with Betano in April to make the operator its front-of-shirt sponsor until 2026.

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