Bournemouth ends M88 deal ahead of Premier League restart

AFC Bournemouth has ended its partnership with M88 following an investigation being launched into the online betting and gaming company by the UK Gambling Commission.

The partnership was due to expire on May 31st, which was in line with what would have been the conclusion of the 2019/2020 season. However, due to the Premier League’s temporary suspension of activities, there are still a multitude of matches yet to be played. 

Since M88’s contract has not been extended to fulfil those games Bournemouth will complete the remainder of the season in new playing kits and next season’s training wear, with the latter expected to remain without a sponsor ‘for the foreseeable future’.

An AFC Bournemouth spokesperson stated: “AFC Bournemouth can confirm that its partnership with M88 will end on Sunday (31st May). 

“The online gaming company has featured on the front of the club’s home, away and third shirts, and training wear, since the start of the 2017/18 season. The club will therefore complete the 2019/20 campaign in new training wear and playing kits. AFC Bournemouth would like to thank M88 for its support over the past three years.”

According to the Daily Mail, Bournemouth has already drawn up potential play kits which feature a ‘thank you NHS’ message, akin to Leyton Orient’s 2020/21 home kit. The club is also exploring the possibility of finding a new shirt sponsor before the Premier League’s 17 June resumption. 

Despite the UK Gambling Commission investigating M88 and Mansion Europe over its model and operations, the Premier League club’s relationship with Mansion Group, which owns both of the entities, remains intact with mansion.com’s logo still to be used as Bournemouth’s sleeve sponsor.

Insider Insight: Due to the financial strain caused by the global health pandemic and Premier League approval needed for shirt sponsorship changes, the likelihood of Bournemouth finding a new sponsor for the remainder of the season is slim. 

However, if the club opts to fill its new blank space with a thank you message to the NHS it could be a great activation opportunity for Bournemouth, whilst also supporting the country’s healthcare workers.