The former Swedish international, Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins Bethard as a brand ambassador and co-owner a week after leaving Manchester United because his genius was unable to flourish.
It sounds like a joke, right?
It’s a bona fide iGaming company, formed in 2012, with Maltese and UK licenses who have plans to dominate Europe by the end of 2020.
Only this morning did I heard of their existence. It was like spotting a Tasmanian Tiger taking a shit in the outback. There it was, sitting with its legs akimbo on my Macbook displaying the considerable tackle of one Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
When PokerStars changed tact and hired sports stars and celebrities to endorse their brand instead of the best poker players, the results were evident from inside that particular goldfish bowl.
It’s difficult to see the same successful metrics standing outside. PokerStars is the largest online poker room this side of the toy soldier that lies on my floor, mortally wounded after a fight with the Gruffalo. When it grows, you don’t notice.
But when a little fish like Bethard signs a big fish like Zlatan, then you notice.
It’s All in the Story
Zlatan confirmed in the press release that numerous sports betting brands had approached him throughout the ages. Bethard was the only one that was ‘different’. Conversely, one of the primary reasons he joined was not ‘difference’ but ‘familiarity’. Bethard’s CEO and co-founder, Erik Skarp, is from the same town as the big man.
And Zlatan’s role with the company will be much broader than ‘ambassadorial.’ The striker has a piece in the company, making him a co-owner, and giving him a hand in the growth of the business.
Big Fish, Little Fish, Cardboard Box
The move comes a week after Zlatan left Manchester for Los Angeles in a deal that saw him take a 95% pay cut to join the MLS side LA Galaxy ($27m p.a v $1.4m).
Zlatan’s role at Old Trafford had dwindled since he suffered a horrendous knee injury during the 2016/2017 season. Speaking to FourFourTwo magazine, Ibrahimovic said the move to LA had to happen because he is a big fish and Manchester is a ‘small pond full of small inferior fish.’
His new LA Galaxy teammates already know what he thinks of them.
“In LA, I am a Koi surrounded by lumpsuckers.” Zlatan told FourFourTwo.
The move to LA Galaxy likely triggered the Bethard deal, as English Premier League clubs are a tad sensitive when it comes to the pairings of professional poker players and bookmakers. It’s illegal for a Premier League footballer to bet on a football match, making it slightly more complicated to promote a brand even if you are a big fish.