CASINOSNOW — Casino operators and bookmakers frequently sign famous sportspeople to promote brands and attract perspective gamblers, exploiting globally recognized and inspiring faces.
So here’s a look at the five prominent athletes who bet their names and sports achievements on gambling companies.
Rio Ferdinand (CasinoFloor)
In February 2015, former Manchester United and England national team center back Rio Ferdinand became the face of UK-oriented gambling website CasinoFloor. However, once this became publicly known, his on social media criticized his decision.
According to The Daily Mirror, the British online tabloid newspaper, the England soccer defender tweeted to his followers then: “Play at my favorite @CasinoFloorUK tonight & have 55 free spins on me.”
Among Ferdinand’s Twitter fans, the gambling endorsement was considered as a call for underage gambling, as Ferdinand didn’t add the optional “adult content” alert to his page when posted the tweet.
“Scamming your young followers with gambling?” one tweet said.
But, CasinoFloor proudly announced the signing of the professional soccer player, posting on Twitter Ferdinand’s photo and inscription: “Look who we’ve just signed. It’s time for a new game.”
The last tweet published by the gambling website dates back to May 2015. The CasinoFloor website is under “new ownership and will be relaunched shortly.”
Zlatan Ibrahimović (BetHard)
Bethard, an online casino and sports betting website operated by Malta Bethard Group Limited, signed a deal with Swedish professional soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimović.
As the company’s website reported in Match 2018, the LA Galaxy forward will become not only an active ambassador for the brand but also a “very-engaged” co-owner.
Co-founder and CEO of Bethard Group Erik Skarp said: “We have taken a bold decision to start building next-generation sports betting brand and we are of course super excited to welcome Zlatan on board. What better companion could we possibly have on this journey?”
Zlatan, whose endorsement earnings amounted to $5 million in 2017, regularly features in Bethard’s youtube program called “Minutes with Zlatan,” where he shares his opinion on various topics about soccer and beyond.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Pokerstars)
In 2015, poker cardroom Pokerstars were seeking a brand ambassador; and once again, they have a look at the sports industry, to see who they could find. This time it was the then-holder of three FIFA d’Or World Player of the Year awards and two UEFA Champions League titles Cristiano Ronaldo.
“He’s one of the biggest names in sport, and he commands the largest social media following of any athlete on the planet,” the online poker cardroom wrote on their website on May 27, 2015.
The same day, the soccer player shared a video where he says he’s delighted to be part of the PokerStars team.
According to Forbes, the Portuguese national team captain’s earnings from endorsements amounted to $32 million in 2015!
And weeks ahead of Ronaldo’s signing, another big name in soccer had joined Team PokerStars — Neymar Jr. According to the leaked information published by MARCA, PokerStars was supposed to pay €1.6 million a year to the Brazilian soccer player!
Anthony Joshua (William Hill)
Anthony Joshua (AJ), the British professional boxer and the holder of three major boxing titles, partnered with William Hill on August 3, 2018. The deal was struck on the verge of Joshua’s fight against Russian Alexander Povetkin (September 22), which the boxer from Britain won by a KO (knockout) in the seventh round.
“I’m delighted to be an official global brand ambassador for William Hill. Without the team, none of this would be possible, and we’ve just added another big team member,” said Joshua in an interview to the bookmaker.
AJ signed a first one-year deal with William Hill and would feature in the company’s “exciting” new integrated advertising campaigns, in the firm’s social media and PR activities — promoting the William Hill brand in a fun, interactive and responsible way, the bookmaker announced upon the signing.
In 2018, Joshua signed endorsement contracts worth $7 million in total, Forbes reported.
Conor McGregor (PariMatch)
A year and a half away from the second highest-grossing boxing match against American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. (over $550 million total revenue), mixed martial artist Conor McGregor teams up with online bookmaker Parimatch. On February 6, 2019, the British fighter signed a two-year endorsement deal, in accordance to which he will become the first brand ambassador, as well as the face of the new brand look of Parimatch in the CIS and Cyprus region.
“Parimatch has a fighter spirit built into its culture, and as soon as I met them, I knew this was a brand I wanted to bet my name on. I’m already charged to win with Parimatch,” commented McGregor in a video released by the bookmaking company.
In July 2018, Parimatch partnered with UFC and became their official betting and wagering representative for Europe, the Middle East and Africa region (EMEA).
McGregor previously was an ambassador for Betsafe — Betsson’s online bookmaker that focuses UK gambling market.