Sydney-based professional rugby league football club Wests Tigers has announced a six-figure sponsorship agreement with British online betting exchange operator Betfair.
The National Rugby League (NRL) team stated that it welcomed the deal, which was forged after a year's worth of negotiations that saw it perform a thorough due diligence study on Betfair to ensure that it would not be compromised by actively endorsing a wagering company.
'It [gambling] is a sensitive area and we had to make sure any deal was the right fit,' said Brett Clarke, Marketing Manager for Wests Tigers.
'The NRL has ticked the boxes about this deal. The fact is we aren't going to force our supporters to bet. It's not as if we are going to say ‘prove you're a Wests Tigers fan and bet’. There is no obligation. However, we are allowing them the opportunity, those who gamble, to be aware of Betfair's services.'
Unlike a number of rival rugby clubs that have given their names to front gambling sites in hopes of sharing in any profits, Wests Tigers have accepted a traditional upfront payment and will enjoy a slice of any pie.
'We're in partnership, not sponsorship,' said Clarke.
'We will deliver key marketing objectives. We aren't being promised revenue share [like other clubs]. It is a marketing split. We're not relying on the club's supporters to put money into their club [via a gambling site].'
The deal will see fans exposed to Betfair at each of the club's three home grounds, the Sydney Football Stadium, Campbelltown Stadium and the Leichhardt Oval, and be shown how to bet in booths set up outside the entrances. Alongside signage, advertisements will feature on the stadiums’ big screens while promotional girls will hand out literature.