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Aston Villa Cazoo Deal Timely as Report Threatens End of Gambling Football Shirt Sponsorship

Aston Villa Cazoo Deal Timing

Aston Villa’s announcement of their new sponsorship deal with online car rental company Cazoo, coincided this week with an announcement that the writing maybe shortly on the wall for gambling company shirt sponsorship in the Premier League.

Following a government pledge at the end of last year to review the gambling industry, a 192-page cross-party special inquiry report by a House of Lords committee, recommended that Premier League clubs immediately phase out their gambling shirt sponsorships deals.

If the notion is carried into legislation then W88 maybe Aston Villa’s last ever gambling main shirt sponsor.

It’s unrealistic to think £350 million worth of Premier League shirt sponsorship deals be held by half the league’s clubs can be phased out overnight, especially in light of the dent in finances the recent pandemic has brought with it, but a timed termination is realistic, with such revenue ultimately secondary to TV rights income.

The problem lies lower down the footballing pyramid, when you consider that 17 of the 24 Championship teams have gambling shirt sponsors. The report suggested a staggered phasing out for those EFL clubs, with completion targeted for 2023.

“The Premier League could do it straight away but in the current economic climate this puts a burden on smaller clubs so we would give the Championship clubs three years to wean themselves off it,” said former BBC chairman Lord Grade, who headed up the committee of peers.

“We have to disabuse children of the idea that gambling and football are synonymous. It’s not healthy,” added Lord Grade, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph

The report blamed the rise of smart phone fuelled online football gambling for the 350,000 problem gamblers, which include 55,000 children. The report also stated a problem gambler committed suicide every day.

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Villa’s Stance

After the announcement of W88 last summer, Aston Villa CEO Christian Purslow openly admitted in Villa Fan Consultation Group meetings that the choice of sponsor was far from ideal. Although, with Villa’s unexpected promotion last season, his commercial team didn’t necessarily have the time to broker a deal away from the gambling sector, which can normally sign-off on large deals swiftly.

With the Cazoo deal taking Villa away from the gambling sector and enabling Villa to carry the same kit sponsor across all their teams – men’s, U23’s and women’s – the CEO has been true to his intentions.

Cazoo Unicorn Status

Cazoo wasn’t even in existence this time last year and after being born six months ago, it now claims to be the quickest British technology unicorn company (a unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion). Potentially the birth of the company was a stroke of luck for Villa’s commercial team, but you could say the club has been due some good fortune this season.

Cazoo is the latest initiative of entrepreneur Alex Chesterman, the man behind both DVD home delivery site LoveFilm and house-hunting site Zoopla.

The brand is hoping to shake up the used car market, giving it the status of a disruptor brand…or ‘disruptor unicorn’, if you will.

Cazoo Shirt Logo

Interestingly, Everton also will be sponsored by Cazoo next season, with the Merseyside club announced their three-year deal a few weeks before Villa’s announcement. In terms of the duration of the Aston Villa Cazoo deal, the club statement claimed it to be a ‘new multi-year partnership’, without specifying an exact term.

The elephant in the room regarding the Aston Villa Cazoo deal is which league will Villa find themselves in next season. There’s no doubt the deal will be leveraged accordingly, considering the coverage the Premier League affords over the Championship. That uncertainty of the club’s immediate future will no doubt factor into the eventual duration of the deal too.

Everton have already been able to release their 2020/21 shirt carrying the Cazoo logo, so the shirt above will give Villa fans an indication to how the sponsor will look on the new Villa shirts.

When should you see the new Villa kit surface? Well, at the moment, it is unknown, but considering Everton launched their new kit within the timeframe of three weeks after announcing their Cazoo deal, you’d expect Villa’s 2020/21 kit to surface before the end of July.

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