As modern sport becomes evermore lucrative, the financial pressures placed upon all levels of teams has been massively increased in order to stay competitive. And in order to meet these increased pressures, many teams are finding themselves seeking sponsorship from a variety of unlikely companies including online casino brands and junk food firms in order to stay afloat.
Although sports and sponsorship have had a long and mostly fruitful relationship, the recent developments in the Australian National Basketball League (NBL) show the potential for a degree of uncertainty in the future.
The main focus of the Australian sponsorship controversy developed with the news story that emerged a few years ago that the NBL would be signing a two-year sponsorship deal with an online betting company. By featuring the company Centrebet as the official partner whose brand would be featured in the promotions and signage at every NBL match, it brought a huge amount of revenues to the developing sport, but also triggered a few fears amongst the sport’s watchdogs.
Such fears have only been amplified in light of match-fixing scandals in cricket and the recent FIFA corruption expose. Furthermore, with the recent news that the NBL’s pre-season Blitz was hosted at Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino and the season was launched at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, many have speculated that the relationship between the Australian sport and gambling has become a little too close.
However, the NBL have been quick to defend the betting sponsorship. The basketball coach Larry Sengstock said that the arrangement would undoubtedly lend an air of transparency over any sports betting activities, and by bringing sports gambling into the open, it will therefore be easier to police.
Alongside such increased betting awareness, the fact that Australia’s gambling boom will undoubtedly bring a massively needed amount of funds for the NBL is hard to ignore. The fact that there has been an explosion in online casinos illustrates just how healthy the demand for gambling is amongst the Australian public. Brands such as Lucky Nugget Casino have granted mobile users a more convenient way to develop their blackjack skills and improve them here thanks to improved digital technologies that could hopefully have a trickle-down effect to increasing the profitability of Australian sport in general.
The one thing that most commentators would agree upon is that sports sponsorship does have an effect upon audiences. A recent study revealed that children who were exposed to sports advertising tended to have a surprisingly high recall of alcohol, junk food and betting brands, but didn’t necessarily distinguish them as being potentially harmful activities.
However, for the majority of sports viewers who are able to determine their own prejudices and activities, the attempts to limit the revenues earned by developing sports such as Australian basketball may be seen as harmful in disrupting the natural evolution of this fascinating and exhilarating game.