Date: 20.05.2024

by Kajetan Sawicz

German Bundestag Rejects Ban on Sports Sponsorships Amid Market Challenges

In a recent public meeting, the sports committee of the German Bundestag has decided against a ban on sports sponsorships in Germany.

The Importance of Sponsorships in German Sports

Experts during the Bundestag meeting emphasized that sponsorships are vital for the sustenance and growth of sports in Germany. The potential loss of funding from a sponsorship ban could have severely impacted various sports leagues and clubs across the country.

Inka Müller-Schmäh, managing director of the Association of Sports Sponsorship Providers, advocated for a legal framework to support sports sponsorships, stating, “Sports sponsorship must remain possible, no matter where, when, and how sport takes place and is broadcast.”

Challenges in the German Gambling Market

The German gambling market is currently grappling with significant challenges, particularly with the prevalence of the black market. A 2023 study from the University of Leipzig highlighted a worrying trend: only 50.7% of German online gambling activities are channeled towards legal operators, with nearly half of all players resorting to illegal platforms. This has raised concerns about the safety and security of German bettors.

Advertising restrictions contribute to this issue, as operators face a ban on online and television advertising between 9pm and 6am, along with limitations on using sports clips in ads and partnerships with sports personalities and influencers. Luka Andric, managing director of the German Sports Betting Association (DSWV), described the regulations as “extremely strict,” comparable to a monopoly system or a complete advertising ban.

Comparative Perspective: Sponsorship Bans in Europe

Other European countries have also tackled the question of sports sponsorships with varying approaches. The Netherlands, for instance, instituted a ban on sports sponsorships for operators in July 2023, currently in a transitional period to phase out existing agreements. Similarly, France has introduced new regulations through its gaming regulator, l’Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), following a 20% increase in sport partnerships with legal operators between 2022 and 2023.

In England, Premier League clubs made headlines last April by collectively agreeing to stop gambling companies from sponsoring the front of their shirts, reflecting a broader trend toward stricter sponsorship regulations.