German Legal Situation 'Ludicrous,' Bayern Chief Says

28 October 2008

As rumors of a 1.5 million euro shirt sponsorship between Unibet and Valencia C.F. swirl in the Spanish media, Bwin Interactive Entertainment A.G. has again thrown its hat into the thorny sponsorship ring of Germany.

According to the German media, Bwin has done a shirt-sponsorship deal with Bayern Munich, last year's Bundesliga champions and one of the country's best-known teams internationally.

Though financial details were not disclosed, reports say Bwin will sidestep tough German restrictions on advertising by branding Bayern jerseys with the U.R.L. for its free-to-play online poker site during domestic matches.

Beyond the bounds of Germany, however, the Bayern jerseys will be branded with Bwin's dot-com logo. The Vienna bookmaker could not be reached for comment today due to time-zone disparities.

Last year, on legal complications, Bwin dropped its advertising deals with Werder Bremen, also a Bundesliga team, along with the second-league side Munich 1860.

In coverage of the Bayren Munich deal, the German media has quoted Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the team's chairman and a former Bundesliga player, as saying of the country's gambling advertising ban: "We want our partners in Brussels and Berlin to intensify lobbying. The current legal situation in Germany is ludicrous."

Bwin's other shirt-sponsor partners are Real Madrid of Spain and AC Milan of Italy.

Bwin's co-chief executives, Manfred Bodner and Norbert Teufelberger, were arrested in France in September 2006 shortly before giving a press conference announcing a shirt deal with AS Monaco.

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.