AC Milan will look to enhance its presence across Asia through a new partnership with online casino and sportsbook operator Yabo Sports, in a deal beginning from the the 2020/21 season.
The three-year deal sees Yabo become the club’s official regional partner across Asia, in a region the club says is its “second home”, where it has the second largest following of any team in China.
The partnership will kick off with Yabo being involved in the club's digital summer tour, which will see it create a 'virtual fan village' to offer exclusive experiences aimed at engaging its Chinese fans.
“We are delighted to partner with Yabo Sports, who will undoubtedly help us to grow our brand and connect with our millions of Rossoneri fans across the Asian region,” the club's chief revenue officer Casper Stylsvig said. “Delivering high performance, localised partnerships that focus on shared business objectives is a fundamental aspect of our partnership strategy”
Yabo Sports’ chief marketing officer, David Lee, added: “We are very excited to join hands with AC Milan, a club with the second largest fan base in China.
“For the next three years, we very much look forward to work closely with AC Milan to deliver incredibly creative sports entertainment experiences for our fans in Asia and beyond”.
With a rban on gambling sponsorships for clubs in Italy imposed last yera, the move comes as evidence of a shift in focus by clubs to improving fan engagement across the globe.
This has already seen SS Lazio sign up HQ Bet as its Chinese betting partner; JBO become Bologna FC's Asian betting partner and 10Bet as Serie A champions Juventus' 'international partner'.
Regulators across Europe are beginning to take a more restrictive approach to the involvement of gambling companies in sport, and teams across the region have begun reconsidering their approach to sponsorship.