Anderlecht plays football in the Lotto Park – everyone is used to that by now – but will that last? The sponsorship contract with the National Lottery, which also includes boarding, activities, seats…, expires on June 30. A new deal has been negotiated for some time and there is hope for an agreement. Even though the context is certainly not easy.
Do you still say Constant Vanden Stock Stadium? No, right? When Anderlecht came into the hands of Marc Coucke in 2018, the Brussels club concluded a five-year contract with the National Lottery relatively quickly. According to our information, the Purple & White received 1.35 million euros annually for a whole sponsorship package. This included hospitality (loge, seats, food…), visibility (LED advertising, large screens, web,…), activities (with the players…) and also naming rights. That is why the Purple & White has been playing football in the Lotto Park in recent years. Doing business with a well-known Belgian company was economically interesting.
That expiring contract must now be renewed, but it is not the easiest of conversations. The National Lottery is a public company, part of the profit of which flows back to the state. The company also has a social objective in which one of its core tasks is to sponsor social, cultural, sporting and scientific projects. That is why there are sometimes doubts at the top whether being a financial backer of Belgium’s – on paper – largest football club does not miss that goal. There are pros and cons. Proponents claim that Anderlecht appeals to a large audience and can be inspiring for young people. Opponents do not see the social benefit of it.
The tenor now seems to be that the National Lottery still wants to continue as RSCA sponsor, but that its financial contribution would be less. That will have to be determined by the negotiations.
There is also a risk involved. There will be a ban on gambling advertising in Belgium. From January 1, 2025, no advertising panels, posters for (private) gambling companies may be displayed in stadiums. From January 1, 2028, (private) gambling companies may no longer appear on the shirts. The National Lottery does escape this legislation because scratch tickets and lottery games are said to be less addictive than games of chance, but there is still a fierce discussion about that. Patrick Lefevere, manager of cycling team Soudal Quick-Step, among others, said that it would be “unfair competition” in the race if Lotto-Dstny could continue to enjoy support from the National Lottery, while his Soudal Quick-Step would then have to give up their partnership with Napoleon Games. Lefevere also sits on the Board of Directors of Anderlecht.
Private gambling companies
In practice, the sports world is legally challenging the complete ban on gambling advertising, but the outcome is uncertain. At Anderlecht, they are still approached by (private) gambling companies such as Napoleon Games to enter into a sponsorship deal in the following years. It is unclear whether that will get off the ground and what the National Lottery would think of such a partnership. No one wants to comment at this point. Clarity should come in the coming weeks.