Brazilian football surrendered to bets. Thirty-nine teams out of the 40 in Serie A and B have some kind of partnership with bookmakers. It is the highest number in recent years, since sportsbooks began operating in the country, but not the websites, as they are all based outside Brazil. The Lula government has on its table the regulation of the law to sanction.
The only exception for the clubs is Cuiabá, which has already publicly expressed its desire to obtain sponsorship in this category of sponsor for the Brazilian Championship, but has not yet found an offer that is good for both parties.
The partnership does not just follow a business model. Bahia and Sport, for example, follow more traditional partnerships, receiving amounts close to R$ 50 million (US$ 9.7m) -for three years- and stamping the betting site's logo on the jersey.
Grêmio preferred to negotiate a monthly allowance to pay the salary of Uruguayan striker Luis Suárez. The club receives around R$ 1 million (US$ 194k) for this purpose alone. Clubs in São Paulo and Rio get higher amounts. Flamengo earns R$ 25 million (US$ 4.8m) a year.
Betting sites move R$ 12 billion (US$ 2.3b) in Brazil.
There are at least 17 different brands stamping their logos on uniforms or on club properties. The predominance is due to Esportes da Sorte, which is the first in number of sponsors in Série A, with four teams, and Série B, with five other associations - it still has one more club, América-RN, in Série C of the Brazilian Championship. The condition of the betting site was celebrated last Friday (24), by announcing the master sponsorship of Athletico Paranaense for the next three years. The name of the brand goes on the front of the shirt.
“We understand that linking our brand to clubs is not only an extremely positive form of exposure, but also to bring fans a little knowledge and what the betting market is all about. I say this because our objective is to promote interaction, from our posts and videos on social networks to activations with these sponsored teams. We want to establish a partnership that creates connections with these fans, and that's why we also chose associations from different states and regions of the country,” highlights the CEO of Esportes da Sorte, Darwin Filho.
The logic of bookmakers is to be open to all audiences, so as not to leave any bet without the possibility of playing. It so happens that brands also understand that retaining a type of bettor, such as fans from a certain region of Brazil, can bring benefits to the parties involved: the betting company that makes its business grow and the club that earns financially with the sponsor. Crefisa, from Palmeiras, which has been with the club since 2015, and is a credit financier for ordinary people, grew its business with football.
For sports marketing specialist Renê Salviano, CEO of Heatmap, the betting market has emerged as a financial attraction, replacing the exits of banks, for example. “The betting industry can help Brazilian football a lot. Unfortunately, we came from a two-year period of scarcity with the pandemic, and these companies arrived to fill the space that many clubs had with loss of income. I also think that more than the financial issue, the betting segment can also help with activations, because we know how much Brazilians like and are rooted in the culture of these games.”
In addition to Esportes da Sorte, two other companies feature prominently in this scenario, cases of EstrelaBet, with seven partners, and Pixbet, with six. Next, the other brands that sponsor Serie A and Serie B clubs are: Betano (2), Betfair (2), Betnacional (2), Besfast.io (1), Bet7k (1), Blaze.bet (1), Brbet.com (1), Dafabet (1), MrJack.bet (1), Novibet (1), Pagbet (1), Parimatch (1), Sportsbet.io (1) and Valsports (1).
Marcelo Paz, Fortaleza’s President, recently closed the biggest contract in the club's history with a Greek betting platform, Novibet. “It is an expanding market that has come to replace the departure of brands from other segments. And Fortaleza thoroughly analyzed all the proposals that arrived. The partnership that we recently closed with Novibet is one of the greatest in our history, placing us on a level with great teams in national football,” he said, without revealing the bases of the agreement. The business model is not very different from traditional sponsors: money for brand exposure on team jerseys.
The president of Sport, Yuri Romão, another club from the Northeast, argues that the importance of these sponsorships goes beyond exposure on the shirt. “Betnacional, in our case, also encourages and supports us financially with the modernization of our training center. The financial incentive coming from this sector is increasingly important. Through these partnerships, the national teams are able to hire people, make improvements to the club's facilities and offer better conditions for all employees,” he says.
Cuiabá, the only one among the 40 clubs that does not have any betting sponsorship, informs that it has already received contacts from sports betting companies about the possibility of supporting the team, but negotiations continue.
“We have two prominent spaces on Cuiabá's jersey: the first is under our master sponsorship and the second, on top of the number of athletes. We are a traditional club and we compete in one of the strongest and most visible national championships in the world. Because of this, we ask for an amount that reflects the visibility of the club,” says Cristiano Dresch, vice president of Cuiabá. He did not reveal the amount of the negotiations.