A pair of monumental soccer sponsorship deals were agreed to this week as the brand new Las Vegas Lights FC of the United Soccer League signed with UK bookmaking giant William Hill, and BetBright partnered with EFL Championship club Nottingham Forest.
The deals are each significant for their own reasons as William Hill became the first sportsbook to sponsor an athletic team in the United States, and Forest has claimed the agreement with BetBright is “the most significant” shirt deal in the club’s history.
As an overwhelming amount of American pro sports teams clamor for sportsbook sponsorships, it’s the Lights FC who emerged with the first and did so with one of the indisputable leaders in the global sports betting industry.
The partnership is a no-brainer as its fitting to see a team that represents the epicenter of US gambling and betting ink with the cities most prominent sportsbook. William Hill has been something of a pioneer in its US efforts maintaining a strong presence in Nevada that will be taken to a new level with the deal. The bookmaker also opened one of the first operating sportsbooks outside Nevada at Monmouth Park in New Jersey earlier this week.
William Hill US chief executive Joe Asher was happy to be moving further into the American market and credited Las Vegas as “truly a sports destination” adding that the Lights FC, currently in their inaugural season, “have been a great addition to the city.”
Team owner Brent Lashbrook was equally excited as he said in a released statement that William Hill was an “ideal partner for a pro sports team in Las Vegas.”
“What other pro sports team pays its fans when it wins? We want to be the first team in North America to go to the top of the mountain and scream to our fans to take out their phones and bet on the game happening right in front of their eyes.”
Indeed, the bookie is already paying fans back as those who sign up for a William Hill Mobile Sports account with the ‘LIGHTS’ promotional code receive a $5 (€4.30) free sports bet for each home victory in 2018.
In what could best be described as a massive week for Nottingham Forest, the club signed on with BetBright and will display the bookie’s logo on the front of its kits next season.
This comes in the same seven-day span that Forest pulled off a pair of record-breaking player transfers. Forest signed midfielder Joao Carvalho for a club-record fee of £13.32 and completed a season-long loan deal for his teammate at Portuguese club Benfica winger Diogo Concalves.
The two under-21 stars signified a commitment by new owner Evangleos Marinakis to spend heavy for quality players to bring the club back to prominence. The Athens resident who also owns Greek football giant Olympiacos F.C. purchased Forest back in May of 2017.
David Cook, Forest’s chief commercial officer, said the team was “delighted to have secured” BetBright as “a key partner for the 2018-19 season.”
“Yet again we have not only been able to secure one of the most significant financial deals in the Club’s history, but also a partner that has shown a unique desire to be part of the project at Nottingham Forest. The supporters of Nottingham Forest are of huge importance to us and we look for our partners to have a similar fan-first approach. We look forward to working with BetBright and are excited by the plans they have for the partnership.”
BetBright will be engaging in its first ever shirt sponsorship deal with Forest although the Dublin-based bookie already has partnerships with Cheltenham Racecourse and have additionally sponsored mixed martial arts events in Ireland.
Managing director at BetBright Sarne Lightman said the bookie is thrilled to be pairing with such an “iconic” club as Nottingham Forest and believes the club’s aspirations are “closely aligned with our own.”
“As Forest are committed to continually improving for their fans, BetBright is committed to continually improving for its users. We have built our own proprietary technology, driven by innovation, allowing us to provide a unique and ever-improving sports betting experience for our customers.”
Forest has played five seasons in the current highest division in English Football, the Barclays Premier League, but the most recent spell came in 1997-98 and they were relegated the next year. Ever since winning the First League title in 1977-78 and finishing as the Runners-Up the following season, the club has been struggling to regain top-flight status.
Lightman went on in his statement to elaborate on how, like Forest, the company wants to be a “Premier League brand in the next 12 months” and is “very excited that (the) brands can take this journey together.”
“Forest fans can expect plenty of exciting Nottingham Forest activations and promotions on BetBright throughout this partnership – starting with Double Odds* on Forest to make the Premier League next season. We want the fans to be at the heart of this partnership and join us on our journey.”