Asia-focused operator BK8 has secured a brand ambassador partnership with former England and Arsenal Ladies player Kelly Smith.
The partnership marks BK8’s debut appointment of a female brand ambassador, as well as a strengthening of its sports sponsorship portfolio following the collapse of its previous agreement with Premier League club Norwich City FC.
Following fan complaints regarding the operator’s social media marketing, which was criticised for being ‘sexually provocative’, Norwich City made the decision to terminate the agreement.
Despite this, BK8 reached five agreements with teams competing in Spain’s LaLiga, becoming the official Asian betting partner of Athletic Bilbao, Elche CF, RCD Mallorca, Valencia CF and Villarreal CF.
This also allowed the clubs involved to offset Spain’s ban on sports sponsorship arrangements with betting companies, due to regionally focusing on Asia rather than in the home market.
Commenting on the firm’s new deal with Smith, BK8’s European Managing Director, Michael Gatt, said: “We are delighted to be working with Kelly and thoroughly excited about how we can work together over the next year. As a brand we have reflected heavily over the last few months and have taken stock of our core values and this partnership represents a new direction for BK8, one which we are committed to long term.
“The collaboration with Kelly is reflective of these new values we have as a brand and it demonstrates our commitment to them. Having already secured partnerships with a number of La Liga clubs in the past month, we now want to make a difference across not just elite football but across both the women’s game and grassroots game in the UK and elsewhere.”
Under the terms of Smith’s arrangement with BK8, the brand will donate money to the former forward’s charity ‘We Mind Kelly Matters’, a mental health awareness and suicide prevention organisation.
“I am excited to be joining forces with BK8,” Smith remarked. “After long discussions with them about their brand values and ambitions, I was really impressed by how they wanted to help focus on the women’s game now and in the future.
“To then make a substantial donation to a charity that is close to my heart, blew me away. If I can help them reach their goals by bringing my advice and expertise, I believe it can only be a really successful partnership.”