Cazoo … finally a sponsor that isn’t a bookie!

WST has today announced a sponsor for the 2021 World Grand Prix, Players Championship and Tour Championship.

Cazoo Launches Partnership With World Snooker Tour

Sponsorship of new Cazoo Series to cover 3 major tournaments

Cazoo, the UK’s leading online car retailer, which makes ordering a car as simple and seamless as buying any other product online today, announces that it has signed a multi-year deal with the World Snooker Tour (WST) as the main sponsor of the Players Championship, Tour Championship and World Grand Prix.

Cazoo-Series-2021_BannerThis trio of prestigious events on the snooker calendar will be known as the Cazoo Series and will see prominent Cazoo branding on the main set, players’ waistcoats and interview and media conference backdrops and will have extensive live coverage on ITV and a range of broadcasters across the globe.

The Cazoo Players Championship will take place from February 22 to 28, contested by the leading 16 players on the one-year ranking list, followed by the Cazoo Tour Championship which will run from March 22 to 28, featuring an elite field of the world’s top eight.

During the 2021/22 season, the Cazoo Series will start with the Cazoo World Grand Prix, scheduled for early December.

1538_WST - Cazoo Series Branding.inddThis latest deal with WST adds snooker to Cazoo’s impressive portfolio of major sports sponsorships announced over the past year which includes principal sponsorship of the Rugby League World Cup, The Hundred cricket tournament as well as Premier League football teams Everton and Aston Villa.

Cazoo owns and fully reconditions all its cars before offering them on its website. Cazoo has thousands of cars available at any time for either delivery or collection in as little as 72 hours. Every Cazoo car comes with a full 7-day money back guarantee and a comprehensive 90-day warranty.

Cazoo is pioneering the shift to online car buying in the UK and, since its launch just over one year ago, has already delivered over 15,000 cars to consumers across the UK who have embraced the selection, transparency and convenience of buying high quality used cars entirely online.

Alex Chesterman OBE, Founder & CEO of Cazoo said: “We are delighted to partner with Barry and his team at the World Snooker Tour to launch the Cazoo Series. This partnership will help to further grow our audience as we continue to build Cazoo into a household brand and we look forward to engaging with and delivering the best car buying experience to snooker fans across the UK.”

Barry Hearn OBE, Chairman of WST said: “We are excited to welcome Cazoo to the snooker family and are looking forward to introducing our significant global audience to the Cazoo brand. The events in the Cazoo Series are some of the highest quality tournaments on the calendar because they bring together the cream of the crop and only the players in form earn a place in the draw.”

And, yes, you read it correctly, this NOT a bookie, it’s a company selling cars online. 

This is a particularly good and welcome news in the light of this, that hit the media yesterday:

Betting sponsorship: sport’s next financial crisis

Football and darts will be hit hard by shake up of gambling advertising laws

Crystal Palace and West Ham are two Premier League clubs sponsored by gambling companies

Britain’s sports industry – already on its knees due to the impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – is bracing for another financial crisis.

In what is described by The Sunday Times as the “biggest shake-up of advertising in professional sport since tobacco promotion was outlawed”, the paper reports that gambling logos are set to be banned from all kits.

Football is one of the biggest beneficiaries of sponsorship by gambling companies with £110m a year alone generated for clubs in the Premier League and English Football League (EFL) Championship.

In the Premier League, eight of the 20 clubs are sponsored by betting firms – Burnley, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Leeds, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham and Wolves – while in the Championship, which is title sponsored by SkyBet, it’s 12 clubs.

It’s not just football finances that will be affected. Sports such as darts, snooker and boxing will also be dealt a blow if the ban comes into play.

Every player in the top ten of the Professional Darts Corporation wears gambling logos during big tournaments, the Sunday Times reports. While in snooker, many top players, including Ronnie O’Sullivan, wear waistcoats which feature the logos of betting sites.

When would the ban start?

A huge rise in “problem gamblers” has led to the review of Britain’s gambling laws and the advertising that surrounds the sector. According to The Telegraph there is a “rising unease” in the government over betting addiction and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “increasingly likely” to ban gambling sponsors on football shirts by the autumn. 

In what would be the most extensive review of the sector since 2005, sources close to talks with Downing Street say there is “determination at the top” of the government to “press ahead with reform”.

In August 2017 a study by the Gambling Commission found that 430,000 people in the UK were described as “problem gamblers” and there were concerns that the volume of TV adverts helped to fuel under-age betting.

Research published in May last year suggested that levels of gambling addiction could be “even higher than was previously thought and half of those with a problem are not getting the help they need”. A YouGov survey of 16,000 people commissioned by GambleAware estimated that up to 2.7% of adults in Britain were “problem gamblers”.

‘Worst possible timing’

With sports seeking alternative revenue streams amid the Covid-19 crisis, senior Whitehall figures say they are conscious of “the worst possible timing” of the review into gambling advertising.

Clubs face “unprecedented financial chaos”, the Telegraph says, but according to campaigners the British public want to see a shake-up of laws. A Survation poll for Clean Up Gambling found that 51% back the banning of all advertising, sponsorship and promotion for gambling firms. Just 21% disagreed while the rest gave no opinion either way.

Campaigning Labour MP Carolyn Harris told the Daily Mirror a blanket ban on sports sponsorship by gambling firms has “got to happen”. She has also urged the government to go further, with further affordability checks and a complete end to newly-reformed “VIP schemes”.

Harris said: “It’s such a wide-ranging issue they can’t just put a sticking plaster on one thing and hope the rest will go away.”

Every time I’ve raised this issue on this blog I’ve had to face a lot of negative reactions from scorn to border-line insults, and a lot of  those who reacted that way, wanted to negate or minimise the negative impact of betting on peoples’ live. I won’t have it: I have known personally two men who took their own life because they couldn’t see any other way out of their debts and shame over betting/gambling … leaving their family – in both case wife with kids – to deal with the aftermath of their addiction. And that was in Belgium. years ago, in a time and place where gambling was seen as a shady business at best and certainly not advertised. Betting/gambling kills.

Mark King has been very open about his own addiction and it’s consequences.

Here are a few links:

2011: Thinking about robbery in order to be able to gamble

UK Championship 2016: Mark King talks about gambling addiction and recovery

2020 Mark King: Without my Gamblers Anonymous meetings, that devil will pop up again on my shoulder

Gambling and betting have also ruined the life of the late Willie Thorne and Alex Higgins (along with alcohol of course). It has cost a lot to Jimmy White … and I could go on. Those who deny the issue are either dishonest or utterly stupid.

Barry Hearn has often hinted that, if snooker doesn’t grow as much as it could in mainland Europe, it’s because the lack of sponsors. The thing is, most potential sponsors in mainland Europe would not want to be associated with anything to do with betting or gambling. If snooker manages to distance itself from what is perceived here as “unethical” sponsors, it will strongly increase its chances to find good sponsors on the Continent.

14 thoughts on “Cazoo … finally a sponsor that isn’t a bookie!

  1. Some people here argue that problem gamblers are responsible for their own misfortune. Well, some of these gamblers have children that rely upon them. I rest my case.

    • Exactly Jo. It’s not just about the people who gamble, it’s everyone around them suffering too. The two guys I mentioned in my post were married with young children. Their wives were left to deal with their debts – one has to sell the family home – and they had to provide for the family and educate the kids alone. And how do you explain their father’s suicide to young kids?

  2. And for the vast majority its a harmless bit of fun. But it looks like the ” if it saves one live” brigade have one the day . Might as well shut all pubs as well.

    • It’s not about a ban of bookies, it’s a ban of advertising gambling, especially when targeting a vulnerable audience. As far as I know, advertising tobacco is banned. in the UK alcohol ads can’t be broadcast in or around programmes popular with the under 18s and alcohol ads mustn’t reflect youth culture or feature anything or anyone of strong appeal to under-18s. Gambling addiction is just as harmful as addiction to alcohol or tobacco is and for that reason the same measures should apply.

  3. what a brilliant timing to do this…let’s put British economy into more mayhem, brilliant this from Westminster, let’s cheer this

    • I will cheer this because I put people lives above a “casino econmy” that causes so much damage at so many levels. Economy can always be rebuilt, it has been after every war or disaster, dead people can’t be revived. And this type of “economy” only profits the bookies. Ever wondered how in a time of deep crisis, so many of the thrive? The answer is simple: because punters lose far more the they win.

      • it is a lot of fun for many people…yeah it’s bad for some. once again, it’s about creating a super-pssy culture, about “defending” people, about being over-obsessed with the “harm” of the few…and taking money away from sport teams that are already in trouble right now…
        ROS himself said that the tobacco ban pretty much slaughtered snooker…I hope you cheered that on as well

      • The tobacco ban slaughtered snooker because the governing body at the time did nothing to find alternative sponsors despite several years advance notice. Fortunately, it seems that Barry Hearn is being more pro-active. I have no sympathy whatsover for super rich football teams, spending indecent amounts on people kicking balls around losing some of their money. And, anyway, I’m confident that they will find “work-arounds”. And woulnd’t say that 430000 persons are “a few”, it’s “a lot”. Would you accept that a medication/vaccine that helps the majority, but seriously endangers or kills nearly 3% of those who are given it? Would you take it if you were offered it? Would you think it’s right to advertise it? I very much doubt it. This is no different. Gambling addiction is a serious issue and should not be promoted.

      • but these sponsors are getting worse and worse…as ROS said, tobacco sponsorship was classy, it had its elegance…then came bookies, less elegant but at least decent recognition and good money…now we’re down to car retailers…also, this sponsor has the ugliest colours and design ever
        I would go back to Embassy and B&H in a heartbeat

      • So the colours are the importanrt thing? Not people’s health? That says a lot about you Juan, and it’s nothing to be proud about. I agree the colours aren’t nice, but I’d rather have ethical sponsors with bad colour tastes than “elegant” unethical sponsors. And the bookies didn’t come right after the tobacco. In between, snooker had sponsors like Saga Insurance, Maplin (electronics), Pukka Pie, Royal Watches, Wyldecrest Parks. In China the sponsors were/are banks, car makers, food makers. So it’s not that it’s impossible to find sponsors. Actually, distancing themselves from bookies might help big time.

      • I think that promoting smoking, explicitely targeting young people is unethical. Tobacco is addictive, and has proven adverse effects on health. To give it an image of “sporty”, “cool”, “youthful” to get kids hooked to it is unethical, yes.

      • well no-one ever said that snooker was spory or cool or youthful, so that mess coulda been avoided

      • It was when the class of 92 came around, and ealier. Jimmy White, Kirk Stevens … and they certainly try to revive that youthful image with Judd Trump now. They want to attract youngsters to the sport, and they should, otherwise there is no future.

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