BET365 WILL replace Stoke City's stadium naming rights partner Britannia as the English Premier League club's front-of-shirt sponsor from next season after signing a three-year deal.
While financial details of the agreement remain undisclosed, Frontloaded estimates bet365 will be paying at least £1.5m per season after Tony Scholes, chief executive of Stoke City, revealed that the club “received a number of offers from potential sponsors, but bet365 was the highest bidder.”
Britannia is thought to have paid Stoke around £1m per year under the terms of its four-year shirt sponsorship deal signed in 2009.
While bet365 may have been the highest bidder, the internet gaming firm has a deep-rooted relationship with the club.
John Coates, founder of bet365 in 2000, is currently in his second stint as Stoke City chairman, having previously held the position from 1989-1997.
The global reach of bet365 in comparison to Britannia, which operates on a more regional basis, was also a key factor in the selection of the online gambling brand.
“This agreement with bet365 means we have been able to maximise the international element of the club’s exposure,” added Scholes.
Meanwhile, Britannia will become the official banking and community partner of the club for at least the next two years, opting to focus more on developing its involvement with Stoke City’s community programme.
And as the naming rights partner to the Britannia Stadium the brand will retain a high profile at Stoke City until at least 2016.
However, with sponsorship decisions seemingly out of Britannia’s hands after parent company the Co-Operative Bank cancelled the shirt sponsorship contract a year early last September, this week may well signal the beginnings of a slow retreat from the club for Britannia.