With the sale of the club completed last week, plenty of changes are afoot at Premier League side Newcastle United. But one of the most visible may be a new sponsor for the front of their shirts.
On Thursday, Oct. 7, a consortium led by the Saudi Arabian government’s Public Investment Fund completed the purchase of Newcastle United from former owner Mike Ashley. Reactions have been mixed ever since, with some Magpies fans relishing the thought of increased investment in the squad, while other Premier League clubs raised objections.
In the time since, there has been a lot of speculation about the changes the new owners will bring to Newcastle. But one change that seems almost certain is a new shirt sponsor for the club.
Newcastle has been sponsored by sports betting firm Fun88 since 2017, and the two sides signed a long-term extension in 2020. But, since all forms of gambling are illegal in Saudi Arabia, it’s being reported that a change is on the way.
The reports conflict, though, on the timeline for the change. Newcastle-centric Twitter account @MagpieMediaa say that the new ownership consortium is looking at buying out the remainder of the contract with Fun88, which could pave the way for a new sponsor as early as next season. However, ChronicleLive.co.uk reports that the new owners “will honour the current agreement they have with Fun88, but do not wish to have a betting partner on the front of their shirt in the long run.”
Newcastle is among nine Premier League clubs who currently have betting firms as their primary shirt sponsors. All nine of them may have to find new sponsors eventually as the U.K. government is reportedly set to ban such firms from buying front-of-shirt advertising across the entire English football pyramid.
Potential new sponsors for Newcastle include Saudia, an airline also owned by the Saudi Arabian government, and Aramco, an oil company chaired by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who is also the governor of the Public Investment Fund.
There is also speculation that new ownership could mean a new kit manufacturer, with most fans preferring a return to adidas. The German company outfitted the Magpies from 1995 to 2010, during perhaps the club’s most successful years. They then switched to Puma for 11 years before signing a deal with British sportswear company Castore this past offseason.
The feasibility of switching manufacturers would depend on the clauses currently in the contract between Newcastle and Castore.
Feature photo courtesy 90min.com