Rangers-Ladbrokes wagering pact to end


Glasgow Rangers and Ladbrokes Image: Ladbrokes/Glasgow Rangers FC

The Scottish Premiership side Glasgow Rangers will not extend a long-running in-stadium betting sponsorship with UK gambling operator Ladbrokes, which is also the title sponsor of the top four leagues in Scotland.

The agreement is due to lapse at the end of the 2019-20 seasons and Rangers were in talks with Ladbrokes over an extension. But, the Glasgow club confirmed recently that the alliance would not be renewed.

The Scottish Premiership is the top division of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), the league competition for men’s professional football clubs in Scotland. The Rangers Football Club is a Scottish professional football club based in Govan district of Glasgow in UK, which plays in the Scottish Premiership. Although not its official name, it is often referred to as Glasgow Rangers.

Ladbrokes is a British gambling and betting company based in London. Ladbrokes facilitate fans to place bets at Rangers’ Ibrox Stadium on matchdays.

The aforementioned move comes after tempestuous development in Scottish football in the beginning of April amidst the fall-out from a vote over whether to end the second-, third- and fourth-tier league seasons and hand out prize money to clubs.

Remarked James Bisgrove, Rangers’ Director of Commercial and Marketing, “Following a number of supporter enquiries over the Easter weekend, we can confirm the arrangement with Ladbrokes, who provide betting facilities at Ibrox Stadium, will not continue next season. In anticipation of our 150th anniversary (in 2022), Rangers will continue to grow its Commercial Partnerships program, both domestically and internationally.”

Rangers’ supporters took to social media after a tweet from David Macdonald, Ladbrokes’ Media, Sponsorship & PR Manager in Scotland, UK.

The tweet from Macdonald – which has since been deleted – was critical of Inverness Caledonian Thistle Chief Executive Scott Gardiner, who gave a radio interview recently to explain details of clubs’ votes in the Scottish Professional Football League ballot.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club, commonly known as Caley Thistle, is a professional football club based in Inverness, Scotland. The team presently competes in the Scottish Championship, the second tier of the Scottish Professional Football League, and holds home games at Caledonian Stadium.

Both Rangers and Inverness Caledonian Thistle voted against the proposal for the Championship, League One and League Two to finish now on a points-per-game basis. The Premiership would also be called if the league board “determines the games cannot be played”. Amidst claim, counterclaim and statements, Rangers mooted for an independent probe into the ballot, along with the suspension of SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster and legal adviser Rod McKenzie.

The ballot held in the second week of April remained incomplete after the Championship side Dundee asked for their initial no vote not to be considered, according to the SPFL. The backing of Dundee would see the SPFL motion passed. Dundee United Football Club is a Scottish professional football club based in the city of Dundee in UK.

Rangers have a shirt sponsorship arrangement in place with rival betting operator 32Red.

Ladbrokes is not renewing its SPFL title sponsorship beyond the end of the 2019-20 seasons as it continues to reduce its visibility in UK football.

Ladbrokes first came on board as the title sponsor of the four Scottish leagues in 2015, signing a two-year agreement. That deal was worth £2m (€2.3m/$2.5m) in the first season, before rising to around £2.1m in the second season.

A one-year option covering the 2017-18 seasons worth in the region of £1.5m was then taken up, before a further two-year agreement was inked that extended the partnership to 2020. The annual fee currently paid by Ladbrokes is not thought to have reached the record sum paid by the bookmaker at the start of the pact.

Ladbrokes has in this season used some of its SPFL sponsorship inventory, including branding on interview backdrops, static and LED advertising boards, to support GambleAware’s ‘Bet Regret’ campaign aimed at moderating the behavior of young male gamblers. The league’s composite logo worn on players’ sleeve was also adapted at the start of the season to remove the reference to Ladbrokes.

GambleAware is an independent, grant-making charity commissioning prevention and treatment services across England, Scotland and Wales in partnership with expert organizations and agencies, including the National Health Service (NHS), across three areas: Commissioning the National Gambling Treatment Service.

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