(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; editing by Simon Jessop)
The in-play football betting specialist will become
principal sponsor of the two clubs from the start of the 2009/10
season and its brand logo will appear on all adult club shirts.
188Bet said the deals will enable it to raise its profile in
the UK and Europe. At the moment, it is mainly focused on the
Asian market, which generates about 80 percent of its revenues.
Reebok will continue to manufacture Bolton’s kit and is
committed to sponsoring the club’s stadium until 2016 despite
its parent company, Adidas ADSG.DE, closing its office at the
stadium earlier this year, with 160 jobs lost as a result.
LONDON May 12 Online gaming firm 188Bet has
become the first company to sponsor two Premier League clubs
after striking a deal to sponsor Bolton Wanderers and Wigan
Athletic, replacing Reebok and JJB Sports JJB.L, respectively.
JJB last month agreed new, easier terms with its landlords
in order to stave off administration after it was forced to
close over 100 shops last year due to tough trading conditions.
188Bet, based in the Isle of Man, is following a number of
other online gambling firms who either currently or have in the
past sponsored Premier League football clubs. Tottenham Hotspur are sponsored by Mansion, a gaming and
entertainment group based in Gibraltar. .
Chairman Dave Whelan sold his stake in JJB Sports, the company
he founded, in 2007 and recently changed the name of Wigan’s
ground from the JJB Stadium to the DW Stadium. West Ham announced a
deal with SBOBET, another online betting firm last December.
“We were looking for a unique opportunity to mark 188BET’s
first major foray in the UK market, and feel that the
collaborative engagement with both Bolton Wanderers and Wigan
Athletic shall help us to further grow the strength of our
brand,” said 188Bet Chief Executive Andy Scott.
188Bet declined to comment on the level of investment
involved in the deals, which will run concurrently over a
Wigan were known to be looking for a new shirt sponsor