Online gambling group 32Red's shirt sponsorship deal with UK football club Aston Villa has come to an end after a two year agreement expired, with the football club management opting for a charity deal going into the next sporting season.
In 2006 32Red paid a six figure amount to the Birmingham club for the wide publicity achieved through having its logo on the gear of the players in televised games reaching millions of viewers. The deal also involved the club in revenue sharing with the online gambling company.
Aston Villa plays in the Brit Premier League, and going forward it will carry the logo of the Acorns Children’s Hospice following a decision that makes Aston Villa the first English club to switch to a charity sponsorship.
A club spokesman said that Aston Villa was "…striving to react with one eye on tradition and the other on progress."
He added that Aston Villa's history and heritage are fundamental values that cannot be ignored, shaping the club's expectations regarding the sponsorship value of its shirt and the esteem in which any logo it carries is held.
Other European teams have adopted a similar "charity-over-commercial-gain" strategy, notably the Spanish club Barcelona, which took the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as its main sponsor in 2006 and was subsequently followed by Swedish clubs Hammarby and Brondby.