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The Biggest Bingo Sponsorships in Sport

bingo sponsorship sports industry
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Sports organisations and online gambling firms have long been linked in the form of sponsorship deals – indeed, this has been a major initiative over the last nearly two decades. It does make a lot of sense for both sectors and, as a result, there have been some successful relationships over the years, with iGaming firms witnessing a significant profile increase in awareness, in addition to registrations and repeat custom.

However, one emerging micro-niche in the online gambling industry that has also benefited is that of online bingo sites, which has seen a significant rise in participation levels over the last decade. One of the reasons for this is bingo brands recognising the potential that sponsoring sports organisations can bring.

As a result, below we have outlined some of the biggest bingo sponsorships of sports brands over the last few years, which have and, in some cases, still are enjoying the rewards that these have brought and still bring.

Tombola Sponsorship of Sunderland AFC

Perhaps the most notable in English football was that of popular bingo brand, Tombola securing a sponsorship with Sunderland AFC. At the time, the football club was enjoying a very respectable existence in the English Premier League and chairman and former player Niall Quinn was swiftly transforming its fortunes. There were many reasons why a sponsorship with Tombola made sense, in addition to joining the numerous football clubs that were enjoying the multiple advantages of being sponsored by an online gambling brand.

However, Tombola was identified mainly because of its roots in the northeast of England, just like the football club.

Chief Executive Officer of Sunderland AFC at the time, Phil Cronin, enthusiastically praised the partnership, revealing:

“Sponsoring Sunderland AFC is a fantastic opportunity for Tombola. With our own head office here in Sunderland we have been able to see the work that Niall [Quinn] and his team have done to transform the fortunes of the club. We’re really looking forward to working with Sunderland and we’re confident that this sponsorship will help us achieve our own ambitions.”

Tombola reaped the benefits of being associated with a local club, with many fans, in turn, showing their support. Incentives such as exclusive sign-up offers to those supporters who were members of the Sunderland Supporters Club could make the most of multiple upgrades when they joined Tombola via a link on the Sunderland AFC website.

MrQ Bingo and the UK Darts Open

The MrQ Bingo brand was proud to announce its link up with the UK Darts Open in 2023, with this being a tournament that has grown significantly in stature over the last few years.

Certainly, it attracts thousands of people to its venues, often being at full capacity, while there are millions who tune in. With MrQ Bingo having grown its online presence considerably over the last couple of years, this has allowed it to increase the options that it can offer bingo players.

Attracting a new target market is proving to be relatively successful and its alliance, via the PDC with the UK Darts Open, clearly set a substantial precedent. Just one month later, the bingo brand, which is based in St Albans, Greater London, cemented its relationship with the sport further after successfully negotiating a deal to sponsor the Darts Players Championship.

Since MrQ has been subject to elevated levels of interest from what can be considered a new audience and with its distinctive and memorable brand, this could swiftly turn into a highly profitable decision.

MrQ Bingo and Watford FC

Further gaining a grounding in the world of sport, MrQ Bingo secured a sponsorship agreement with the particularly notable London-based football club Watford FC in the summer of 2023, which counts legendary musician Sir Elton John as one of its loyal fans.

It meant that the online bingo brand would become the football club’s principal partner and main shirt sponsor for the 2023/24 football season and beyond in a multi-year sponsorship agreement.

Naturally, news of this was greeted with major enthusiasm by both parties, with MrQ founder Savvas Fellas revealing:

“It’s a great new chapter for the club and for us. We’re excited for next season. Our business was built in St. Albans and the people who have shaped it are Hertfordshire born and bred and so we’re excited about expanding on that local story.”

He continued: “We’re looking to raise our profile but this deal represents a lot more than just a sponsorship; it’s a partnership, and we’re keen to play our part in the local community.”

Meanwhile, Watford FC’s Commercial Director Paul O’Brien commented:

“The MrQ agreement is a very strong financial deal for the club and it also has longevity. MrQ has impressive roots in the local area and shares great synergy with our club values. As a Hertfordshire-based business, they are looking to impact really positively in the community.”

Mecca Bingo and Wigan Warriors RLFC

It was somewhat of a notable coup back in 2009 for both parties when the fabled Mecca Bingo brand and one of the serial rugby league clubs, Wigan Warriors, came together in what proved to be a highly successful partnership. The one-year deal meant that the Mecca Bingo site’s brand would be on both the club’s home and away kits for the season.

Understandably, this was a revelation that was met with eagerness on both sides, with Wigan Warriors Chief Executive Officer at the time, Mick Hogan, commenting:

“We would like to welcome Mecca Bingo on board as our new main sponsor. “It is particularly pleasing to have such a well-known, national organisation in partnership with the Wigan Warriors for the 2009 season. They have very exciting plans to engage our supporters in ways that will add to their match day experience at the JJB Stadium. We look forward to a very exciting season for Wigan Warriors and Mecca Bingo.”

Meanwhile, Mark Jones, managing director of Mecca Bingo’s parent company, Rank International, added:

“Mecca Bingo is proud to be so closely involved with Wigan Warriors as well as the sport of Rugby League. The club has an enviable heritage and is recognised as one of the most prestigious and successful Rugby League clubs in the world. We look forward to supporting the Warriors in their efforts to achieve success on and off the field.”

What Does the Future Hold for Bingo Sponsorships in Sport?

Without a doubt, there is a demand here; bingo sponsorships of sports brands definitely work. While over a decade ago there were only really one or two, MrQ has demonstrated in recent years that there is a natural target market here and, furthermore, bingo brands are willing to pay.

The likeliest scenario for bingo brands is finding niche sponsorship deals so as not to compete with the more popular sports betting and casino brands, as is being demonstrated by MrQ via its successful link-up with darts.

Overall, this is something that definitely has potential and will likely be something we see a lot more of sooner rather than later.

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Kat Anderson
Author: Kat Anderson
Dedicated to keeping the spirit of bingo alive. I think bingo sites translate tradition into a modern context and I aim to provide our readers with the latest from the world of online bingo, including industry news, launches, and promotions.

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