|Two of the most sold jerseys worldwide, sponsored by Bwin.|
|Team? Unibet weren't allowed shown on the tricot.|
So why should the bookmakers come back and spend €8-10 million on a WorldTour team sponsorship? First of all, it’s important to remember that the very same gambling monopolies that ended up killing Team Unibet now are about to disappear thanks to the EU-wide legalizations on the gambling markets. Denmark, France, Spain etc. will all legalize gambling and public sports betting advertizing in 2012 and that means that the fear of being excluded from ex. the Tour de France due to a bookmaker sponsor is now gone.
Denmark was the first country to legalize gambling and that has had an immediate effect on the best football league which, in 2012, will be co-sponsored by the Scandinavian bookmaker Betsafe while the 2nd division will be renamed to “The Betsafe League”. According to my information Betsafe pays around €1 million for this sponsorship. The thing is that Betsafe is already a well known brand in Denmark. Wouldn’t it be great if they decided to spend their money on the Danish Team Saxo Bank and help securing one of those big names (Thor Husvhod, Tony Martin etc.) that Bjarne Riis didn’t have the money for as well?
|Odds on the Tour de France 2012 at Betsafe.|
It might look like a dead end, but personally I believe that we will see bookmakers entering top cycling within the next couple of years. It might be too early – after the end of the gambling monopolies – in 2012 already, but I feel quite confident saying that the Tour de France 2014 will have a least one team sponsored by an online bookmaker on the start list, except for Lotto and FDJ of course.