Norwich City announce ‘record breaking’ shirt sponsorship deal with betting firm
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Norwich City have announced a ‘record breaking’ deal for Asian betting website Dafabet to be their new principal club partner and main shirt sponsor ahead of the club’s return to the Premier League
British online gambling firm LeoVegas have had their logo on the front of City's shirts for the past two seasons but Dafabet are assuming the front-of-shirt sponsorship on the new Canaries kits in a three-year deal, which are due to be revealed this month.
The deal will see Dafabet feature on all three of the club's new kit designs, with branding to also appear on the City Stand and around Carrow Road - with the home kit to be launched on Saturday and available to buy from 9am that day (July 6)
Dafabet also sponsor Scottish champions Celtic and have previously been shirt sponsors for Burnley and Sunderland, with their logo on the front of Fulham's shirt last season.
The deal is understood to be worth more than double the previous record amount City have brought in from a shirt sponsorship deal, taking advantage of the Premier League's global audience.
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"It's game-changing news, it's record breaking by some way," chief operating officer Ben Kensell said. "It's an incredible deal and we're really proud of the fact that we've got a shirt sponsor that's in line with other Premier League deals at other football clubs.
"We're really punching above our weight commercially now, I'm proud of that and proud of the team that we've got internally that's been working hard to try and grow those revenue streams.
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"As a self-funding club we have to try and do everything we possibly can, with memberships, shirt sponsorships, with everything we do around the stadium, to try and make sure that we have that competitive edge.
"Shirt sponsorship is one of our main and key assets that we can work on and we've got a great partner.
"They've been on Celtic's shirt for coming up to 10 years, they've been at Burnley, Sunderland, Fulham - they've always been in the Premier League and they've got a good, rich sporting history in the sponsorship world.
"They are a brand with integrity, so much so that they are actually adorning our club colours on the shirt. They haven't just taken our brand and placed it on the shirt, they've worked with us to ensure that our colours come through on their logo - and they are wanting to do some cool things with fans, which is great.
"Also the focus needs to be on the fact that this is a predominantly Asian focused betting firm, it's not a traditional British sports book.
"The global appeal of the Premier League means that we can really focus our sponsorship in different areas of the world and that's what the Premier League allows us to do, and we've got big Premier League numbers as a result of it from the sponsorship."
As with the previous sponsors, junior kits will not feature the betting company, that will remain Gravity trampoline park in Riverside, but all adult shirts will feature the Dafabet logo.
The firm is based in the Philippines and has also sponsored Everton, Blackburn and Aston Villa in the past, with their logos also featuring around the stadiums of those clubs during those partnerships.
Asked about the moral considerations of remaining with a gambling company - an industry which has major issues of addiction to contend with at all times - Kensell stressed that as a self-funding club it is only betting firms offering big money for shirt sponsorships.
"I understand completely," he continued. "We were fortunate enough to have two or three options that we could have chosen, all within that sector, because that sector pays three or four times what a non-betting brand would pay.
"The stark reality is that as a club we have to make these decisions, sometimes those decisions clash with our values.
"But I have to admit that out of all the brands we've worked with that Dafabet and their focus in Asia and the Far East, from that perspective, we are moving slightly further away into more of a global appeal with a sponsor that have different global objectives with that.
"It will always be a contentious issue and what we want to do is ensure that from a community club perspective that we are still living and breathing our community values in everything that we do.
"But the stark realities are that from a commercial perspective this is one of our largest assets and if we didn't make the most money out of that - and have the best partner that suited the club from a financial perspective - then quite frankly I wouldn't be doing my job."
News of the shirt sponsorship follows on from the announcement of a renewed commercial partnership with Norwich shopping brand Jarrold, with a new 'fan hub' to open in the city centre later this year.