Betway and SA cricket
In the first half of 2020, Standard Bank called to a halt its long-term sponsorship of South African cricket. During a time when sponsorship opportunities are difficult to come by, Cricket South Africa (CSA) would have been anxious to fill the void left by Standard Bank. International online betting company Betway has stepped in as the main event sponsor for the men’s Test and one day international (ODI) teams. Betway will also act as the official sponsor for the men’s T20 side, and the women’s team. While this is a step in the right direction, the remainder of the gap left by Standard Bank needs to be filled. But lets look into Betway and its recent involvement in SA cricket.
Who is Betway?
Betway is a global gambling company that operates across regulated online marketplaces. Founded in 2006, Betway has a presence in many markets. These include the UK, European countries such as Germany and Italy, as well as South Africa. The Betway group is based in Guernsey and Malta, with support from the Isle of Man, Cape Town and London. Betway has a history of sponsoring sporting events. In football, West Ham United and Betway have been in a partnership since 2015. Both parties recently renewed the partnership deal, which is the largest in the club’s history. For a brief period Betway sponsored the two premier international competitions on the tennis circuit, The Davis Cup and the Fed Cup. The company has been involved in horse racing, snooker and even esports. Betway first stepped into cricket by sponsoring the West Indies cricket team in 2018.. The recent SA cricket deal adds another top team to their portfolio.
The state of South African Cricket
The poor governance at the highest levels of CSA is the main reason Standard Bank chose not to renew its sponsorship deal. Misconduct, financial inconsistencies and poor player and media relations, all contributed to Standard Bank’s decision. The bank’s partnership with South African cricket went back as far as 18 years. Finding a long-term replacement will thus take time. The Betway deal does help, however the South African men’s team, the Proteas are still needing to find a replacement. Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, sponsorship deals globally have been hard to come by. One would think that only once regular sport resumes (cricket in particular), companies will only then review sponsorship opportunities.
What does the Betway sponsorship deal entail?
Following the sponsorship of the South African domestic T20 league, the Mzansi Super League in 2018, Betway has increased its footprint in SA cricket. The Betway deal with CSA is due to run for 3 years. By becoming the headline event sponsor, all Test and ODI series will be covered by Betway. This replaces previous event sponsors Sunfoil (Tests) and Momentum (ODI). The deal will also cover both the T20 men’s team, as well as the women’s team, by becoming the official full sponsor of both teams. The Proteas will however be anxious to find a replacement sponsor as soon as possible. The gap left by Standard Bank is reportedly worth 100 Million Rand a year. If the current Betway deal is successful, the betting company could perhaps step in in future. However, as it stands there is still work to be done by the powers that be at CSA.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has not leant itself to sponsorship opportunities, the conduct of Cricket South Africa leaves a lot to be desired. Big brands will be wary of associating themselves with parties in strife. CSA must get their house in order before they can consider themselves a legitimate brand to align with. The best thing that can happen, is for sport to resume. If the Proteas can put together some strong performances, and if the management of CSA can get themselves on the right track there is no reason that one of the most successful international cricketing teams cannot align with a suitable sponsor to fill the vacuum left by Standard Bank.
No matter which way one looks at it, the Betway deal is a good thing for South African cricket. It is most definitely a step in the right direction for a national body finding itself at one of its lowest points (albeit at a management level). If the alignment with Betway proves a success, larger, more encompassing deals could be realised in future. Either way, one can only hope that the Proteas have many options in the sponsorship world once they have their affairs in order.
For more information about the Betway’s sports betting offer please read our detailed Betway review.