Paddy Power’s marketing team carried out its latest public stunt over the weekend, mocking the choice of stadiums for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022.
During the match between Belgium and Iceland at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium, the Flutter Entertainment sportsbook brand launched a 25x11x5ft balloon behind a stand pointing towards the nearby Etihad Stadium.
The bookmaker pointed out that the Etihad Stadium, 650 metres away from the Academy Stadium, has a capacity of over 55,000, whilst the chosen venue could fit just 5,000 due to both stands being standing terraces – something prohibited under UEFA rules.
Paddy Power Spokesperson, Paddy Power, said: “The women’s game has progressed massively in recent years, and this tournament was a great opportunity for teams to play in front of record crowds all over the country and accelerate that growth.”
The inflatable came with the message “Anyone seen a stadium big enough for a Euros game?”, with Paddy Power criticising the ‘unacceptably low-key and unambitious stadia’ chosen for the competition.
Paddy Power also conducted its own survey on the topic, finding that 67% of respondents thought the venue selections ‘are a shame or show a lack of respect’, with an additional 66% stating that the limited stadiums ‘will be detrimental to the progression of women’s football’.
On the other hand, England’s opening match of the tournament at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium last week saw a record crowd of 68,781 in attendance.
Power continued: “The fear of empty seats really shouldn’t put the footballing bosses off being more ambitious in their stadium selection – we’re all used to a half empty Etihad most weeks anyway!”
The incident is the latest case of Paddy Power’s ‘cheeky’ marketing approach since launching its ‘Jamie Redknapp Investigates’ docuseries back in January, although the operator also caught some attention by offering a refund for punters who backed boxer Jack Caterall to beat unified light-welterweight champion Josh Taylor the following month.