In announcing the deal, however, Villa omitted mentioning in the announcement that the new partner is a betting operator. The club instead described OB Sports as “a leader in sports and entertainment and widely recognised as one of the most trustworthy and reliable platforms in Asia”.
Under the deal, the OB Sports logo will feature on the sleeve of Villa’s new kits for the 2021-22 season across all league and cup games.
The Asia-based online betting operator has succeeded another Asian gaming brand, LT, with the latter’s one-year deal having expired at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.
The club added: “OB Sports devotes its efforts to not only establish a secured platform for its users but also to provide a diversified high-quality interactive entertainment experience for football fans. OB has received fervent support from millions of users as well as trust and broad recognition from within the industry and is widely regarded as the leading force in Asia in the fields of sports and entertainment.”
A link to ‘find out more on OB’s website’ at the foot of Villa’s announcement opened up a page from a betting website that was still under construction, under a licence held by white label provider TGP Europe, which also provides the GB sites of a number of other Premier League sponsors.
This page said: “The OUBAO BET website is currently being built and will be live very soon. Once live our website will provide UK players with a brand new sportsbook and casino offering.”
Italian Serie A club Juventus another club to have a sponsorship deal in place with OB Sports.
Villa’s chief commercial officer, Nicola Ibbetson, said: “This partnership will help to bring the Aston Villa brand closer to our international fans and we look forward to a season of exciting plans together.”
Kai Webb, president for the international business of OB Sports, added: “This will be one of the most exciting cross-industry cooperations in sports from the 2021-22 season, and will build on our existing high profile sponsorship portfolio to provide the fans and users with the best sports and entertainment experience by a close cooperation between the two well-known brands.”