The View from the Top

By Gambling Insider
How would a potential European Super League affect the gambling industry? SoftSwiss, LSports and Betsson Group spoke exclusively to Tim Poole

With hindsight, the European Super League seems like a nightmare. When the idea was officially proposed by several of the continent’s super clubs in April 2021 – indeed they even went as far as legally founding it – the outpouring of criticism was almost universal. Some football fans literally did have nightmares about it. And yet it all, in the short term, seemed to go away so quickly after a barrage of negativity from broadcast and social media – as well as physical protests from football supporters.

Many suspect, though, that the concept is far from dead in the long term. While some disagree – including one of our contributors later in this article – there is a fear the biggest clubs in the sport will find a way to make this happen, guaranteeing huge revenue increases for the few and ultimately jeopardising the current revenue structures of the many. If it ever happens, and if it hypothetically didn’t fail earlier this year, how would a European Super League affect the gambling industry?

With many schools of thought here, key issues to consider are: sponsorships – gambling companies are unlikely to sponsor the shirt of a gigantic football club already, but would the reach and value of existing betting sponsorships outside the Super League dramatically fall? Betting volumes – could a European Super League match generate more global betting demand than a regular English Premier League, German Bundesliga or Italian Serie A match, for example? If the football ecosystem was negatively affected overall, could betting revenues equally fall overall?

It may well be that the gambling industry would, in fact, remain completely unaffected by a European Super League. But considering the possibility of just some of the issues raised above, this is no certainty. We spoke to several companies from our sector to see what they thought– and their responses provided quite a variation in thinking.

 

Sportsbook Product Owner Alexander Kamenetskyi, SoftSwiss (Full interview on GamblingInsider.com)

Great question. If this happened, it would change the entire world of football! Top clubs have been discussing this idea for more than 10 years and now it is quite an interesting idea in terms of further development as they want to concentrate on broadcasting. Now, this is the main source of income for them. And of course, we love to watch the greats of European football fight. But will the world of football benefit from this? Maybe we love these matches for their exclusivity?

For example, Real Madrid and Juventus played together three years ago, everyone was interested in watching them confront one another. Will it be so interesting if they play every month? I don’t think there will be the same intensity. Although, I can say that it is a matter of time. The only thing is that it shouldn't run counter to UEFA and FIFA. A compromise solution must be sought that satisfies the wishes of the top clubs, the UEFA rules and the interests of the fans.

Perhaps it is worth turning our attention to the League of Nations, which offered us an interesting gradation by group. The only thing I would like to add is that the teams from the top group have about 40% of their games with teams from the lower groups. There is something to think about and something to work with. I believe UEFA will offer a solution suitable for everyone. In general, I think bookmakers would not benefit from the creation of a Super League, because this could have a negative impact on the world of football in general. Especially for companies that only focus on football.

 

LSports CEO Dotan Lazar (Full interview on GamblingInsider.com)

Basically, I don’t think it will have any long-term effect in my opinion. It’s just another league to bet on, an alternative to other leagues. Maybe the leagues teams are kicked out of will be slightly less popular. But I don’t see any long-term effect; maybe a short-term one.

 

Sebastian Jarosch, Head of Affiliates, Betsson Group (Full interview in Trafficology June)

The European Super League was a hot topic when the idea was first introduced and it upset a lot of fans, football clubs, UEFA, FIFA and even Boris Johnson. The tournament was aimed at providing financial relief to the major football clubs suffering from restrictions during the pandemic.

The ESL wanted to provide the founding teams with guaranteed spots in the competition, which goes against a long-standing tradition in European football. Eventually UEFA and FIFA threatened to ban the players from participating in their competitions, including the World Cup, should they be involved in the Super League – putting the project on hold.

The European Super League was meant to exist alongside current football competitions and would have created additional high-profile games with some of the best teams battling it out against each other. We would have seen a lot of media coverage and content on affiliate sites around these games. From our perspective as a betting company, we would have invested a lot of budget into advertising and we would have seen a spike in betting during these events.

However, with all the negative PR and the outcry in the football community, the Super League is unlikely to ever see the light of day again.

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