Just before the start of the new 2017-18 season, bookmaker Coral.co.uk announced a brand-new partnership with Sunderland Association Football Club (AFC). The lucrative move comes at an opportune time for Sunderland AFC, as the club starts its 2017-18 campaign in the Championship, having been relegated from the Premiership after a dismal 2016-17 season under former manager David Moyes!
Coral's sportsbook will be brightening up Sunderland’s City of Light Stadium with a strong advertising campaign, as well as a full match-day betting service. Coral will also appear on Sunderland’s website as its official partner, as well as launching campaigns through the club’s social media channels. Coral PR Director Simon Clare said:
"We are thrilled at Coral to be establishing such a strong UK partnership with Sunderland AFC and we would like to wish everyone connected to the club, especially all its passionate and dedicated supporters, the very best of luck for the season ahead."
Black Cats supporters will be able to access exclusive offers and promotions during the partnership, with the chance to win prizes and tours of the training ground to meet the team. It will also give fans the added option of collecting winnings from bets on their club in any of Coral’s bookmakers across England. Of these deals, Clare said:
"The money-can't-buy experiences are a great way to give Coral customers a great football experience at one of Britain's most historic clubs. Visits to the training ground and meeting players are examples of the type of activity that could be an amazing prize in competitions that only Coral customers can enter."
The sponsorship comes as good news for new manager Simon Grayson, who replaced Moyes when Sunderland were relegated from the English Premiership last season. With the departure of Dutch winger Jeremain Lens to Turkish side Besiktas, Grayson needs to strengthen his side while cutting costs.
This will be pretty tough considering their are rumored rumblings from the likes of Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri that they too wish to leave. However, the vocal fan base is still expected to fill the 49,000-seater stadium as the players fight to get back to the top flight within one season. On the Sunderland supporters, Clare noted that:
"Sunderland is one of the best-supported football clubs in Britain, and the perfect fit for a betting partnership with a national brand of the size and stature of Coral. Coral is well-represented in the North East both in terms of betting shops, and online/mobile customers, so on every criteria Sunderland AFC fits the bill. We can't wait to start working closely with them and their supporters."
Sunderland AFC’s head of communications Louise Wanless added:
"We warmly welcome Coral to the club. As a leading UK name in their field they will ensure that our supporters can access a premium in-stadium service for all their match day betting needs and we look forward to working alongside them."
Despite the lucrative deal with Coral, Sunderland AFC’s shirts will still be emblazoned with the Dafabet logo. The Asian bookmaker signed a three-year sponsorship deal starting in the 2015-16 season, meaning it still has a year left to run. The original deal with Philippines-based Dafabet was spurred by a desire to reach deeper into the Asian betting markets using the draw of English Premiership betting.
With Sunderland now playing in the Championship, which doesn't have as big a reach as the EPL overseas, Dafabet’s continued sponsorship beyond this season may hinge on a quick return to the top tier. Sunderland would probably want to continue the deal. Last year, the club launched a Chinese Mandarin version of its website.
China has a growing fan base for football and its betting market. Before the 2016-17 season, there were rumours that a Chinse consortium was looking to take over the club, although the deal is believed to have fallen through due to the poor start to the season that Sunderland suffered under Moyes.
With both Coral and Dafabet pushing the Sunderland brand at home and abroad, the club’s players and supporters should be re-invigorated for the fight back to the Premiership. As the 2017-18 Championship season kicks off, Coral.co.uk is offering tons of great odds and markets, so be sure to head over to the sportsbook today!