As expected, Sportpesa’s exit from the Kenyan market(it’s main cash cow) has culminated in the termination of the betting firm’s partnerships with global brands.
At the height of its success in Kenya, Sportpesa boasted partnerships with multiple football clubs, including English teams: Arsenal, Everton, and Hull City.
Last year, the bookmaker stepped up its aggressive global expansion and signed a major sponsorship deal worth a reported Ksh3 Billion with U.K based Formula One racing team – Racing Point.
On Monday, Sportpesa announced that it has terminated contracts with two of its biggest partners – Everton and Racing Point.
In a statement released in Nairobi, the betting firm said the change in its global sponsorships is in line with its new business strategy and sponsorships approach.
“In light of this, SportPesa will not continue with some of these partnerships after the completion of the 2019/2020 season. To this end, SportPesa will no longer be on the front of the shirt of Everton as a principal partner after the 2019/2020 season.”
On Racing Point, Sportpesa said: “After an amazingly successful season with the Racing Point F1 Team, we wish them success in the 2020 competition. We look forward to their transformation into Aston Martin Racing in 2021. Sportpesa would like to thank the team and F1 for a great season working together and we would look forward to opportunities of working joints on local activations.”
This comes about 6 months after the Kenyan government revoked its licence to operate in the country.
The betting firm, however, said the remaining local and grass-roots sponsorship deals are not affected. They include deals with Tanzanian clubs Yanga, Simba Singida United and Namungo, South African side Cape Town City and English championship team Hull City.
Capt. Karauri Blames Kenya for Bringing Down Sportpesa
In light of the new developments, Sportpesa CEO Ronald Karauri took to Twitter to blame Kenyans for “bringing down their own”.
The former Kenya Airways pilot was reacting to outspoken city lawyer Donald Kipkorir who spoke against gambling in Kenya.
Kipkorir tweeted: “Ireland then now England is terminating all contracts with SportsPesa. These are highly developed Countries who have decided to do away with gambling in Sports … Kenya, a poor & miserable country is excited with gambling & Prime Time News is even sponsored by Betting Companies. In Kenya, we love gambling in our economy & in our politics … We don’t respect hard work … No wonder conmen can make Kshs. 39B in 23minutes.”
Karauri tweeted back, “This is so far from the truth. The biggest betting company in the world – Bet365 – resides in England. Kenyans love bringing down their own, and now the same Bet365 is probably the most popular betting site in Kenya, more revenue for them and more tax revenue for the UK.”