Southampton FC have signed a shirt sponsorship deal that will see the club bank performance bonuses in Bitcoin.
The Premier League outfit penned a three-year deal with the Coingaming Group as main club partner that will see the brand Sportsbet.io continue as shirt sponsor.
Sportsbet.io stepped in at the start of the season following the breakdown of a deal with LD Sports, working quickly with the club to establish a one-year deal for the 2020/21 campaign. That contract has now been extended and will also include cryptocurrency bonuses.
It is understood the deal – tied-up at the weekend – is the biggest sponsorship agreement in the club’s history and also includes the option to be paid performance-based bonuses in Bitcoin at the end of each season.
Saints’ Chief Commercial Officer – David Thomas – said the new deal was the result of a highly successful few months of sponsorship in which the Coingaming arm had been a huge benefit to the south coast club and the football community in Southampton.
“The team at Sportsbet.io have built a successful business by challenging convention and disrupting the market, but in a responsible way, and their approach to our partnership with them has been no different,” he said.
“In a short timeframe they’ve proven to be innovative, forward thinking and extremely supportive of the club, our fans and the wider community, and we’ve welcomed the opportunity to develop and promote safe gambling messages together.
“As such they have become valued partners and we look forward to the next chapter together.”
Exceeded all expectations
CEO of the Coingaming Group Maarja Pärt echoed the club’s comments.
“Our first season as Southampton FC’s main club partner has already exceeded all expectations,” he said.
“We’ve been inspired by the passion of the club and its fans, and it was an easy decision for us to extend our partnership with the Saints for another three years.
“From the beginning, Southampton have been a perfect match for the fun, fast and fair way we do things at Sportsbet.io.
“We can’t wait to continue this journey with the Saints, and we’ll be doing everything we can to support the team and its community into the future.”
The mysterious break-up with LD Sports had left the club red-faced after thousands of fans had already purchased club shirts and merchandise emblazoned with the LD logo.
Few details have emerged over the calamitous contract which fell apart last summer. The club announced in August that it had severed ties with the Chinese sports media platform.
A statement at the time read: “Over the last week, we have endeavoured to secure confirmation that LD Sports are still an appropriate and viable partner for the club but have been left with no alternative other than to end the partnership today with immediate effect.
“The club has also taken the difficult decision to temporarily halt all sales of home, away and third kits. Fans who have already purchased a 20-21 home, away or third shirt with LD Sports on the front are kindly asked for their patience and understanding at this time whilst the club resolves what is an extremely complex situation and sources a solution for updating their shirts.”