But something even better arrived for the Black Cats recently with the announcement that Asian-facing sports betting operator TLC88.com will continue its role as the team’s official Asian betting partner. The extension adds three years to the current deal, ensuring that TLC88.com and Sunderland will be bosom buddies until 2017.
The English Premier League has become a global football league with fan bases stretching halfway around the world in countries like China, Singapore, South Korea and the Philippines. Sunderland has seen its profile dramatically increase in the region, having conducted what commercial director Gary Hutchinson called “a number of activities over the last two years including pre-season trips to South Korea and taking part in the prestigious Barclays Asia Trophy in Hong Kong last year.”
TLC88.com’s Asia Pacific strategy director Mike Chong believes that the two sides are barely scratching the potential of their partnership. “Excitement for Premier League football teams such as Sunderland AFC has grown fast in Asia since we signed our original contract,” he said. “With frequent promotions, we expect to grow both TLC188 and Sunderland AFC’s international fan bases.”
That is, assuming the UK Gambling Commission isn’t serious about its plans to prohibit any online gambling firms not holding a UK-isued license from promoting their wares in the UK as of Dec. 1. TLC88 holds a license issued by the Isle of Man, one of the so-called ‘white list’ licensing jurisdictions the UK will no longer recognize by the end of the year.