One of the things I love about Villarreal is that it is a community based club. Consistently, the club is focused on people first, and because of that it generally makes decisions that are wholesome and that the entire fanbase can embrace.
Because of this, the recent announcement of a sponsorship deal with Asian betting company BK8 concerned me. BK8 is a company that has dealt with football clubs before, most notably Norwich City in England. According to this article from the Guardian, the deal between the two didn’t last long. Fans responded in outrage over ‘sexualized marketing’ and an ‘obscure financial structure’ with the firm.
If you’re like me, the first question that pops into your head when you read this is ‘wait, how did Villarreal sign this deal at all? Didn’t Spanish football ban sponsorship agreements with betting firms? They did. What Villarreal, as well as Valencia, Athletic Club, Mallorca, and Elche have done is sign on to an agreement between MediaPro, who is already a broadcasting partner in La Liga, and BK8. Therefore it’s not legally the clubs themselves who are associated with BK8, but rather MediaPro is tied to them and we have allowed various player marketing ventures to be taken through BK8 by Mediapro on our behalf.
As for the questions regarding BK8 itself, after multiple inquires to a variety of sources around Spanish football it is my understanding that before entering into this deal, the La Liga clubs involved did their due diligence on BK8’s past indiscretions and were left satisfied with the answers they received ensuring that nothing like the prior problems happened again, and that it was only on that basis that the deal went forward.
I, personally, am still not particularly thrilled about Villarreal associating themselves with this company, even indirectly. The branding results of this will take place almost exclusively in Asia, so it really will not have much impact, if any, on what we see from the club on a daily basis (unless you live in Asia), but I leave it to you to make up your own mind about this deal.