Canaries announce early end of deal with shirt sponsor

Teemu Pukki of Norwich in action during the Sky Bet Championship match at the City Ground, Nottingha

Norwich City's shirt sponsorship deal with Dafabet is coming to an end - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City have announced that their shirt sponsorship with Dafabet has come to an end – amid recent speculation about a deal with a different gambling firm. 

The Canaries announced a “record-breaking partnership” with Dafabet following promotion to the Premier League in 2019, which would see the firm feature as the front-of-shirt sponsor for three seasons and the company’s branding to also feature around Carrow Road. 

That was to replace another gambling firm, LeoVegas, but the deal has been brought to a conclusion 12 months early. 

At the time, chief operating officer Ben Kensell had stressed the importance of the money generated by the front-of-shirt sponsorship to City’s model as a self-funded club and had described it as an “exceptional” deal that was “the most lucrative partnership the club has ever had by some way". 

In a separate interview with us in 2019 as the deal was announced, Kensell acknowledged that gambling sponsorship was a "contentious issue" that the club tried to balance with its various community initiatives and the need to maximise income.

However, after bouncing straight back to the top flight with another Championship title success, the Canaries have today announced the Dafabet deal is coming to an end and that the club will be working with a new principal partner from 2021-22 onwards.

Kensell explained: “Over the course of the last two seasons, we’ve experienced some unprecedented and landmark moments.

“Over our 2019-20 Premier League campaign we announced record commercial revenue for the football club. More recently, we’ve also enjoyed a very successful Championship season throughout the challenges of pandemic.

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“Throughout that period Dafabet have been fantastic supporters. As a club with a clear model, the contribution of our official partners and the team at Dafabet has been crucial.

"As the partnership comes to an end, we thank them tremendously for their support and wish them well.”

The news comes following a December announcement of a government review of gambling laws to ensure the Gambling Act of 2005 is fit for the digital age. 

With gambling companies dominating shirt sponsorship in the Premier League and Championship, sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: "In terms of sport if there is evidence of harm coming from sponsorship and advertising, we will act. 

"We will also take into account the extremely difficult financial situation that many sports and organisations find themselves in now, as well as broadcasters, as a result of Covid. 

"We know the challenges the sporting sector have had and therefore we need to make sure any changes are proportionate." 

However, it seems another gambling firm will take up the main sponsorship space on City shirts this season, Cambodia-based online casino BK8. 

That follows eagled-eyed City fans spotting the company’s branding appearing on the Carrow Road advertising hoardings last month.  

Other club partnerships also appear on City kits and facilities though, which are not related to gambling, including local motoring company Lotus and a host of other local companies, including Woodforde's Brewery, Alan Boswell Group and Green Farm Coffee.

Badu Sports also feature on the home and third kits - which focuses on creating life-changing opportunities for young people from underrepresented backgrounds in the UK - as part of a three-way partnership with gaming advertising technology firm Bidstack. 

Veteran midfielder Alex Tettey recently led a Badu Sports coaching session at The Nest, the home of the Community Sports Foundation, before his nine years in Norfolk came to an end and he returned to Norway with former club Rosenborg. 

The club have also worked closely on mental health issues with men’s makeup firm War Paint this season, with club legend Darren Eadie presenting a series of videos. 

Details of a new sponsorship are likely to follow soon, with the club's home kit for the 2021-22 season due to be revealed ahead of the start of pre-season in early July.

- If you are concerned about your gambling habits, or those of a loved one, click here for a list of services publicised by the NHS including from GameCare And Gamblers Anonymous UK. 

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