On matchday, much like many regions of the UK, Greater Manchester seems to fizz and sparkle. Trains, buses and trams transport hundreds and thousands of fans into city and town centres, bathing the streets in a tapestry of red, blue, and white (amongst others).
Long before a single ball is kicked, batted, or thrown, living rooms, pubs and stadia begin to fill, and fans’ nervous energy is transformed into song. The region comes to life.
Sport has the ability to transcend generational, cultural, and political differences and is part of the very fabric of many local communities. At the very top, the biggest clubs can draw in audiences in their millions and yet grassroots sport has never felt diminished by this and retains its own unique fascination amongst sports fans.
However, wherever you watch sport, wherever you play sport, you aren’t too far away from gambling sponsorship, advertising, or marketing.
Gambling brands sponsor leagues. They sponsor clubs. They sponsor stadia. You see gambling brands on the front of players’ shirts. On their sleeves. On pitchside advertising. Around the dugouts. On the press backdrops when managers complain about referees during press conferences.
Broadcast sport features gambling adverts before and after matches. As do radio stations. They may even feature pundits telling you to “gamble responsibly” or to “take time to think”. If you use Twitter, or Facebook, or other forms of social media, you’ll see gambling adverts, particularly if you’re young and male. If you have a betting app on your phone, ping; you’ll get push notifications.
You might have received newsletters from bookies. Offers of free bets. As you walk down your local high street, listening to your favourite sports podcast, sponsored by a gambling brand, you’ll probably see several betting shops. And look, there’s the latest odds in their windows for your favourite sports team.
Some of our most beloved sports have become saturated with gambling sponsorship, advertising, and marketing to such an extent that we are losing sight of the sports themselves. Primarily, sport should be about the spectacle, not slips and statistics.
Against the Odds is aiming to shine a light on the relentless marketing practices of the gambling industry and challenge the sports sector across Greater Manchester to reconsider the appropriateness of gambling sponsorship, advertising, and marketing in sport.
The wealth, power and influence of the gambling industry is immense, but we believe that Greater Manchester is ready to challenge the status quo and spark a movement in support of phasing out gambling sponsorship and advertising in sport and to begin de-normalising at-risk betting amongst individuals and communities.
We are Against the Odds. And we need your help.
To pledge your support and join the movement, click the link below: