After a turbulent two years playing behind closed doors, Boreham Wood FC has experienced a positive 2021, with strong league results, an impressive FA Cup run and a mutually beneficial partnership with LV BET.
Sponsorship arrangements between betting companies and football clubs have been under scrutiny, as the government moves ahead with its review of the 2005 Gambling Act.
Gambling reform campaigners have pointed to the prevalence of such partnerships as posing harmful consequences – accusing sponsorships of providing operators a shopfront for regular football fans to gamble, whilst also exposing betting to underage viewers.
Ahead of the club’s upcoming FA Cup fifth-round clash against Everton FC, Boreham Wood CEO Charlie Hunter discussed the team’s collaboration with LV BET and the impact lower league clubs have on their local communities.
Commenting on the National League side’s relationship with the community of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, Hunter began: “It’s absolutely massive. We invest in a lot of community projects including walk-in football, schools coaching, disability group activities, using football to help weight loss programmes, plus we have a significant academy programme.
“The closest band with the constituency is located in a deprived area so we are always looking to invest in giving this part of the community support.”
A potential ban on betting sponsorship arrangements, has been repeatedly outlined as ‘the most likely outcome’ of the review. Government sources in September 2021 suggested that it would initially only be levied against Premier League teams, whilst adding ‘reformers want more but a lot of politicians are worried about the lower leagues’.
The worries this source referenced have been repeatedly made clear throughout the course of the Gambling Act review – English Football League (EFL) Chairman Rick Parry notably pointed to how betting partnerships provide much needed funding to lower league clubs, which in turn supports community initiatives.
Hunter continued: “We have an excellent academy programme here at Boreham Wood FC but on a wider scale, the investment from LV BET can help grow our community projects.”
With such deals in the spotlight, some lower league clubs such as Bolton Wanderers and Forest Green Rovers have opted for partnerships with responsible gambling organisations instead.
However, when quizzed by SBC on the role LV BET plays in promoting responsible betting to The Wood’s followers, Hunter said that the firm ‘absolutely’ conducts a key function.
“We know LVBet actively promotes responsible gambling and we will continue to encourage messaging to our fans,” he asserted.
With Boreham Wood receiving unprecedented media attention after making it through to the fifth round of the FA Cup against Everton, the club’s partnership with LV BET has also brought with it fan engagement opportunities.
Notably, Hunter explained, LV BET has delivered content featuring squad members and team Manager Luke Garrard across its social media network, as well as via the club’s own channels.
“Fans of Boreham Wood and also football fans can get to know the squad ahead of the Everton match in the fifth round, live on ITV1 on Thursday 2 March,” he added.
“LV BET are also going to be our ‘Walk Out’ training top partner where the first XI will all wear co-branded zipper jackets as our Boreham Wood players walk out at Goodison Park to face Premier League Everton FC.”
This impressive FA Cup run is not a one-sided affair from a business perspective, however, with LV BET also benefiting greatly from the increased exposure Boreham Wood have experienced via its team jacket and stadium sponsorship arrangements, as fans across the country follow the underdog’s journey.
“The partnership has given outstanding value to LV BET given the second round home tie against St Albans was live on ITV4, plus we received excellent coverage of our third round home with AFC Wimbledon,” the CEO remarked.
“For both second and third round matches, we saw record crowds, which has given LV BET extra coverage. LV BET delivered some excellent content with Manager and Striker Tyrone Marsh ahead of the fourth round tie away at AFC Bournemouth which we and our fans enjoyed viewing.
He added: “Our relationship with LV BET is very fluid and this makes the engagement and content they produce work really well.”
Lastly, from a business perspective, Hunter offered comment on how Boreham Wood’s partnership with LV BET materialised, with the team notably coming across a stroke of luck as a representative for the firm – which has been a partner of the National League since 2019 – lived in the local area and reached out.
“We knew LV BET had a huge passion for the National League and once we shared our ambitions, plans and the reach LV BET could reach with not only Boreham Wood but Arsenal’s development and Women’s Team, it was a project that excited both parties,” Hunter remarked.
“We’re delighted to have LV BET as official stadia naming partner of Boreham Wood FC and have a superb relationship with the team at LV BET.”