The End Of FA Cup Live Streaming For UK Online Sportsbooks
It has become a common occurrence for online sportsbooks operating in the United Kingdom to offer their registered players the chance to live stream football matches from the FA Cup over the years. In fact, this has been something that has led to many people opting to join a specific sports betting platform over others. Yet once the the current rights deal with IMG comes to an end, the UK will no longer be able to offer live FA Cup matches through onlinr sportsbooks.
The English Football Association (EFL) made the announcement that sports betting platforms can no longer show live streams of any FA Cup games once the deal ends in 2024. The current deal was signed back in 2017, with the sports data company IMG providing the ability to sell live stream packages of games to seven of the UK’s sports betting platforms.
Bet365 was one of the seven brands to sign into a deal with IMG in 2017, and it has been live streaming FA Cup matches ever since. As long as a bettor opens a betting account or places a £5 bet on an existing account, the matches have been accessible. The deal included games that are not shown on television, making it one of the few legal and accessible ways to watch those games.
Concern Mounts in UK Over FA Cup Live Streams
It was last year that The Daily Mail reported on 23 out of the 32 third-round fixtures of the FA Cup games were shown on Bet365. Just two of those matches were broadcast live on television in comparison. This highlighted a particular “necessity” for people to use sportsbooks – something that caused great concern. People were only able to live stream the games if they had made a deposit or placed a bet of at least £5 on those games within the past 24 hours. That same rule was in place for the six other UK sportsbooks involved in the deal – Ladbrokes, William Hill, Coral, Betfair, Unibet and Paddy Power.
As a result of the attention that the newspaper article brought to the streaming deal, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) involved itself. Minister of the department, Nigel Adams sought out an immediate review of the deal for FA Cup match streaming, setting an executive team on it.
Following the revelation of the controversy, the sportsbooks involved in the deals took the decision to offer their IMG packages to terrestrial television channels. In doing so, it would mean that the general public would also have access to the games. Yet, many saw this as a way of brushing the spotlight off of them.
It was a strange deal to have been signed in the first place, considering that in July of 2017, the FA announced that it was cutting all ties with gambling firms. Yet it signed the deal with IMG in January of that year, allowing sportsbooks to buy FA Cup broadcasting rights from the beginning of the 2018-19 season and running up to the close of the 2024 season.
Concerns In Germany Over Gambling Sponsorship
It isn’t only the United Kingdom having issues surrounding the gambling world. In Germany, the Unsere Kurve soccer fan body made a statement on Tuesday regarding its own concerns. It says that gambling companies have too big a role in the sports world, especially when it comes to sponsorship and advertising. It says that the public have too much exposure to sports betting through football, bringing a heavy risk to the scene. Unsere Kurve says that some people will see placing sports bets as a natural part of engaging in football.
Therefore, it pushed forward certain demands to ban sports betting-related advertising within football stadiums. Additionally, it wants to see a reduction in the amount of advertising occurring across sports media. Included within the demands was the request that operators of sportsbooks have no ability to partner up with athletes and other public figures for advertising purposes.
Gambling addiction was also on the forefront for Unsere Kurve, with the group demanding there be significant expansion of preventative measures in this area. A new sports betting warning was also requested – “Profits do not increase significantly through mature expert knowledge”.
A separate list of demands was also put forward by the fan group in relation to sports associations and clubs. Included within that list was for organisations to voluntarily end their betting partnerships by the end of July 2022. Active athletes were also targeted, with the group suggesting that they are banned from being able to place sports bets themselves.
Yet Germany is not the only location with people rallying to ban gambling companies from sponsoring sports teams. The United Kingdom is also focusing on this area, with the undersecretary of the DCMS, Chris Philip set to meet with football leaders in the country as a way of outlining the government opinion on the matter.
While the review of the Gambling Act 2005 is still taking place, various changes have already been rumoured and suggested, which could put a blanket ban on sponsorship deals when it comes to the gambling industry. Some have questioned if this will affect the football scene dramatically. EFL chairman Rick Parry noted that a ruling of this nature could cause some of the league’s 72 clubs to “go under”.
If such legislation was introduced, then it would mean that football kits and arenas would not be able to advertise betting brands via sponsorship deals. A ban would likely have a large impact on Premier League teams, as 45% of them currently have existing deals with betting firms, including Crystal Palace, Leeds, Newcastle and West Ham. And this is just one of the changes that could be introduced as part of the legislation overhaul.