Isthmian League and Southern League announces betting company BetVictor as new league sponsors
The National League System’s ‘big three’ feeder leagues have announced a new two-year sponsorship deal with leading online gambling company BetVictor, starting from the 2019/20 season.
It is the first time that a single brand will take on the title sponsorship of every Step 3 and 4 competition – teams in both the former Bostik League and Evo-Stik League South have been told.
The change will impact on Step 3 side Needham Market, who will compete in the BetVictor Southern Premier South from the new season, while Bury Town, AFC Sudbury and Soham Town Rangers are in Step 4's Isthmian League in the newly named BetVictor North Division.
The Isthmian League released a statement to announce the new sponsor.
It said: "Like many contemporary sports sponsorships, BetVictor’s focus is on digital and social media, with each league’s website being refreshed and new content added.
"The new BetVictor sponsorship will bring a remarkable level of new investment into each competition, underpinning BetVictor’s commitment to supporting the game and to strengthen its digital presence through unique collaborations and campaigns."
There have been signs of unhappiness at the appointment of a betting company as sponsors of the league, with strong reactions from club officials to rumours last week floating on social media.
Bury Town chairman Russell Ward tweeted on Wednesday, July 3: "There will be a lot of people saying “I don’t believe it" if the rumours are true...and several clubs will not be happy if it is correct, mine included, we won’t be a part of it."
In a joint statement, Isthmian football league chairman Nick Robinson, Northern premier league chairman Mark Harris and Southern league chair, Terry Barratt, said: “We are delighted to be working with BetVictor, such a high-profile sponsor.
"It is a major coup for the leagues at the Steps 3 and 4 of the National Leagues System. By working collectively, we become a much more attractive commercial and media proposition. We are all striving to professionalise our competitions and this sponsorship takes things to a new level.”
BetVictor’s director of brand and creative, Matt Parkes added: “We’re very excited about this partnership and we’re confident it will be a successful one for all three leagues and for BetVictor.
"The growing popularity of the leagues amongst the football community in the UK gives us the opportunity to amplify our brand’s digital presence and engagement, and to get closer to the leagues’ football fans.”
The players’ shirt sleeves at 228 clubs across all three leagues will also carry the BetVictor logo.
The Isthmian League has also changed its website, with the previous URL having had the former Bostik sponsors in it. The new site is available on: https://www.betvictoristhmian.co.uk/
* Reaction in this week's print editions