A Sh1.3 billion a year shirt sponsorship deal for European top-flight football club Everton has catapulted Kenya’s betting firm SportPesa to the top list of sponsors in global sport this year.
English Premier League side Everton announced a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with SportPesa in May.
New analysis of spending patterns for the 2017/18 premiership season, which kicks off on August 12, shows the Everton deal ranks number eight in the top shirt sponsorship this year.
SportPesa will replace Chang Beer produced by South Asia’s largest beer-maker Thai Beverage on the front of the club’s kits in the next season, after Everton agreed the biggest sponsorship in its history.
According to British Sports data and analysis website Sporting Intelligence, SportPesa will spend an eye-watering £9.6 million per year (about Sh1.3 billion) for Everton’s 2017-18 season shirt sponsorship deal underlying the Kenyan betting firm’s financial war chest.
The analysis shows a majority of the EPL clubs have seen increased deals for the forthcoming season. Thanks to SportPesa, Everton has registered one of the biggest leaps together with West Ham via new contracts with betting firms, according to Sporting Intelligence.
SportPesa was launched in Kenya in February 2014 by local company Pevans East Africa and is among betting firms which have witnessed exponential growth.
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It now has tens of thousands of unique users and its monthly net revenues are estimated at over Sh1 billion. SportPesa became the first African company to sponsor an EPL club when they did a deal with Hull City last season.
The firm has sought to ride on its increased brand visibility to push the mobile phone-based sports betting platform to four different continents by next year alongside other African nations. It is now the title sponsor of Kenya’s top-flight and African gaming partner to La Liga.
Locally, however, SportPesa has given notice to terminate all existing sports sponsorships should a 35 per cent tax on revenue of gaming companies be effected from January as planned.
The development comes on top of the government’s impositon of tax on net profits accrued by betting and gaming firms.
The company has also sealed a betting deal with Southampton FC — the club Harambee Stars captain Victor Wanyama played for until his transfer to Tottenham Hotspurs.
Sporting Intelligence notes that 20 Premier League clubs have generated a record £281.8 million (Sh38.35 billion) for the 2017-18 season, up from £55 million (Sh7.48 billion) last year in shirt sponsorship deals.