Many supporters naturally imagined a significant brand was lined up to take The Money Shop’s place after Wolves dropped the contentious jersey sponsor in advance of Premier League play.
However, as the team revealed its lucrative two-year contract with an Asian online gaming company, people were left perplexed and wondering who W88 was.
A few additional hints can be discovered since Facebook can be accessed in this day and age. The 2013-founded W88 website claims it is registered and regulated in the Philippines, is ‘rapidly growing,’ and employs more than 1,000 people.
The website claims to specialize exclusively in exclusive to the sports business and its franchise owners, the W88 mobi sports partners model is a private equity investment fund. These games are offered in eight different languages, including English, Mandarin, Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, and Khmer.
Emile Heskey, a former player for the Three Lions and Liverpool, was hired as a brand ambassador for the company in February of this year, giving it a connection to English football as well.
The former football player, who played in 500 league games throughout his 18-year career, expressed his pride at being chosen and promised to provide “football tips, news, forecasts, and match analysis” for the W88 website.
“Our restless professionals are eager to deliver uncompromising sports pleasure with excellent service” W88 writes on its Facebook page.
On the other hand, according to its website, “Our objective is to be a market leader by dominating in offering you the highest quality service, gaming innovation, values, user-friendly interface, and the finest gaming experience online, as well as a secure, regulated environment.”
When Wolves announced the agreement, managing director Laurie Dalrymple met Hilly Ehrlich, the business development manager for W88, who comes off as just as enigmatic as the company he works for, given the scant information available online.
The Tel Aviv University graduate is listed as an “experienced online gaming sector entrepreneur” in an internet search, which implies that he is located in Israel.
He started BeatTheBubble.com, a business that provides tournament insurance, and has dabbled since the 1970s.
Mr. Ehrlich praised Wolves’ “strong sports tradition” while praising W88’s cooperation with them, calling it a “significant milestone” in the company’s “global presence.”
Although the acquisition may have startled some people, Black Country Chamber of Commerce member Ninder Johal claims it makes sense from a financial perspective.
Ninder Johal, a member of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, asserts that the company’s desire to gain visibility in the UK and the financial advantages for Wolves and the club’s Chinese owners would all have contributed.
“In my opinion, the sponsor’s willingness to spend drives this from a commercial standpoint. A sponsorship agreement isn’t, in my opinion, driven by a name or brand.
He stated, “I anticipate the company wants to expand into the UK and is using Wolverhampton Wanderers to do so.
The W88 logo will appear on Wolves’ whole line of training apparel, which will be launched alongside the new home uniform later this month. The W88 emblem will be modified to black and gray instead of their brand’s customary blue color.
But because of the company’s nature, the brand will not appear on any merchandise made for fans younger than 18, and a junior kit sponsor will soon be revealed.
It’s nice that the sponsor won’t be on children’s kits, according to Mr. Johal. It also demonstrates the company’s ambition to do business in the UK because they must have realized there are only so many jerseys they can put their logo on.
“Brands like W88 are also symbolic of the club’s ownership,” he said. “Wolves, like Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion, have Chinese owners.
According to Prof. Mike Haynes of the University of Wolverhampton, the sponsorship agreement was a sign of the times.
When you consider how teams can become trophies for their owners and how the Premier League’s finances have grown increasingly disassociated from their local market, he said, it is simpler to comprehend transactions like these.