Kok Sports Signs Partnership Deal with Real Madrid
One of the world’s most dominant and widely-supported football clubs has formed a partnership with Asian sports betting company Kok sports. The deal will begin with the 2020-2021 season and remain in place for three years until the conclusion of the 2022-2023 season.
Kok sports replace ManBetX as the Asian official betting partner for Real Madrid – which clearly is becoming an important part of their commercial strategy in the Asian market. The club is extremely popular across the region with millions of viewers watching their games – this new deal between the two organizations will help generate further growth and provide an interactive experience for Asian-based Real Madrid supporters.
Football in Asia has and will always continue to be an incredibly wealthy market for European clubs. The global appeal of professional football being played at the elite level is partly what makes the economics of football function. Clubs need this revenue from overseas to maintain their enormous budgets, operate within financial fair play guidelines, and break-even in their financials.
Similarly, Asian sports betting is growing at a phenomenal rate and there are numerous industry verticals gaining traction in the region. Importantly, mobile sports betting is taking off – as more Asians own smartphones and have easy access to the internet through cheap data plans, gambling companies have been able to easily attract swathes of new customers into their ecosystems.
The deal formed between Kok Sports and Real Madrid will allow for much wider engagement across the Asian sports betting partnership platforms, providing a new wave of unique entertainment and exclusive access to Real Madrid official content and interactive supporter experiences. Real Madrid has greatly boosted the local reputation of the partner firm, and through this move have indicated their approval of expanding the Chinese-facing side of their commercial enterprise.
Spain Tightens Advertising Restrictions on Gambling
The news of the partnership between Kok Sports – the Chinese-based sports betting operator – and Real Madrid comes amidst the backdrop of Spain tightening gambling advertising restrictions.
Since the beginning of 2020, the Spanish government has been targeting sports teams and TV companies with regard to the manner and frequency of gambling adverts. The tightening of restrictions on the law follows mounting pressure from Spanish politicians who have begun enacting much tougher policies towards the gambling sector in recent months.
Within the legal changes are policies that restrict the time an advert can be shown on television only between the hours of 1am and 5am, but for live sports broadcasts a concession for half-time gambling adverts was made so long as the kick-off is after 8pm in the evening. The specific content and language of advertisements in games have also been restricted, with direct encouragements to gamble now forbidden, and live information of in-play odds are no longer permitted in gambling advertisements during sports broadcasting.
The new laws in Spain also affected the way gambling companies can strike sponsorship deals with professional sports teams. Advertising for betting companies within the stadium, along the side of the pitch or over the audio system are prohibited under the new guidelines. The strictness of audio and television advertising for gambling means that 1am to 5am is the only time of the day where gambling adverts in the country are allowed.
Furthering this, the Spanish authorities took on additional measures against online gambling vendors, email campaigns directed toward customers to draw them back into gambling are now prohibited across the country, meaning all email marketing material from bonuses, discounts, odds boosts or any other bonus that may convince a customer to gamble.
Importantly, sports teams will now no longer be allowed to display betting sponsorship on their team kits or have operators purchase naming rights to stadiums and other properties owned by national sports teams.
The Real Madrid deal with Kok Sport will have to be creative in its approach to circumventing these new laws. As the landscape in Spain is changing drastically there will be a more subtle partnership between the gambling operators and sports clubs. The new legal framework will ensure that the purpose and intent of such sponsorship will be for the benefit of creating high-quality content and providing interactive engagement opportunities for supporters rather than provide gambling services.