The battle for the sponsorship rights of the Czech Football Liga has intensified as principal sponsor Fortuna Entertainment makes its stand against the interest of main-market rival Tipsport.
Ahead of this weekend’s start of the Czech Liga 2022/2023 season, Dušan Svoboda, Chairman of the Czech Football Association (LFA), disclosed to national media that Fortuna would guarantee a CZK 200m (€8m) per season offer to renew its existing contract.
Since season 2018/2019, Fortuna has served as title sponsor of the Czech Liga 1 and 2 divisions, secured under a six-season deal that will expire in 2024.
However, this summer national media reported ‘informal discussions’ between LFA representatives and Tipsport, who had pledged a guaranteed CZK 150m per season contract to take over as principal sponsor of the Liga.
Tipsport, which operates the Czech Republic’s largest betting agency, was reported to have further incentivised its deal by guaranteeing the LFA that it would distribute CZK 30m (€1.2m) per season amongst Liga teams to improve their media rights and commercial capacities.
Jan Čumpelík, Tipsport’s marketing director, confirmed the ‘informal discussions’ – but underlined that Tipsport’s intentions were to ensure that the LFA would hold a tender process on Liga rights.
“In our opinion, the only transparent solution is to issue a tender, in which entities other than bookmakers can apply. It may happen that we do not win the tender, but football would definitely not lose out on it. Maybe the resulting amount would climb even higher than the amount offered by us,” Čumpelík told national media.
Spearheading its transformative deal, Tipsport seeks to revamp the Liga, replicating its title sponsorship of the Czech Extraliga, which is recognised amongst Europe’s strongest ice hockey leagues.
Aware of Tipsport’s interest, Fortuna has stated that it will reveal a significantly improved renewal offer as soon as the Liga concludes its current season, and the LFA launch a new tender.
Speculation mounts on the LFA’s future options, as this week Czech sports outlet iSport.CZ, reported that Kaizen Gaming subsidiary Betano targeted becoming the title sponsor of the Liga
The Liga’s title sponsorship is reported to be critical to Betano’s plans to aggressively take market share of the Czech Rep’s online sportsbook marketplace, that is dominated by Tipsport and Fortuna.
“It is a competitive struggle between the largest domestic bookmakers provoked by the announced entry of a foreign rival the Betano bookmaker.” – iSport.CZ reported.
“Both Fortuna and Tipsport do not want to weaken and lose customers on the domestic market due to a Greek competitor with connections to Sazka Group.”