HomeNewsSponsorship & MarketingFootballFrance

Betclic acquires Ligue 1 bookmaker rights as LFP targets pool of sponsors

(Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)

France’s Ligue de Professionnel (LFP) this month struck only the second betting deal in its history, a three-year agreement with Betclic that will run from 2020-21 to 2022-23.

The deal makes Betclic the official bookmaker of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 and is valued in the high six-figure euros per season, according to industry experts.

Betclic takes on the designation after it was unfilled for two seasons – 2018-19 and 2019-20 – after Française des Jeux (FDJ) exited a three-and-a-half-season agreement (starting January 2017) with two years still to run.

The FDJ deal was worth between €2m ($2.3m) and €3m per year, according to experts, but included major partner rights to the Coupe de la Ligue, worth between €1m and €2m per year, along with official partner rights to Ligue 1, Ligue 2 and the Champions Trophy, the annual match between the champions of Ligue 1 and the winners of the Coupe de France.

FDJ opted out of the contract to focus on club sponsorships with Olympique de Marseille, Olympique Lyonnais, AS Monaco and FC Nantes.

The Betclic deal was made by the LFP’s commercial management with the marketing and sponsorship management department at Betclic. No agency was involved.

The LFP told SportBusiness Sponsorship that the governing body had been in touch with key bookmakers in the French market for the previous year, working on a proposal that would fit the betting operators’ needs within the constraints imposed by the LFP and the clubs. These demand that Betclic sponsorship is fully associated with  LFP competitions and not a specific club or clubs.

“The betting industry in France is a competitive market with five or six key players,” an LFP spokesperson told SportBusiness Sponsorship. “Each rights-holder has its own benefits to offer to brands and, as a league, we offered the chance to be associated as the official bookmaker of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 and promote it on every medium.”

The deal will mainly be activated on LFP-owned digital channels, with engaging content, money-can’t-buy experiences and various other assets that will be revealed and activated throughout the length of the contract. The deal includes neither perimeter board advertising rights nor player image rights.

The deal is important, the league said, because it is key to the LFP’s new digital strategy: “Partnering up with a market leader and digital-driven company benefits the growth of LFP fanbase, adds value to LFP’s competition ecosystem and creates engaging content for every football fan. Every agreement is key to LFP’s growth and to generate and add value among its partners and to its competitions.”

The deal is also important because the LFP has moved from a pyramid model to a pool model, where the hierarchy is not the main driver of sponsorship activities. The new model aims to create an LFP ecosystem that allows partners to co-develop activations independently of their status or their rights.

The pool includes the new title sponsors to Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. Food delivery service Uber Eats will be headline sponsor of Ligue 1 next season in a deal worth €10.5m per season, covering 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. Agricultural tyre company BKT deal will be title sponsor of League 2 in a deal worth between €2m and €2.5m per year from 2020-21 to 2023-24.

Beneath these are a tier of partners with rights that are currently mixed with those attached to the Coupe de la Ligue. The league-owned cup competition will be axed after the 2019-20 final between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon on July 31, necessitating a reset of the contracts.

The decision to drop the competition, which generated about €4m per year from sponsorship, was made by the league last year because of waning interest in the property among broadcasters.