Fonbet is back in the game

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Leading Russian bookmaker, Fonbet is making a comeback in Cyprus sports with exclusive sponsorship deals it sealed with five top-flight football clubs, including well-supported Anorthosis Famagusta.

Already active in Cyprus for the past five years and licensed by the local gaming authorities for online sports betting, Fonbet’s Marketing Head for Cyprus, Chriso Reppa, said the company wants to promote Cypriot football.

“Since arriving in Cyprus five years ago, FONBET has been very active in sports sponsorships.

“We want to continue on this path at an even greater pace,” said Reppa.

She said sponsorships are an important part of sports, and as a betting company active on the island, they feel the need to give back to local athletes and clubs.

Fonbet made a comeback in Cyprus football after a three-year deal with Omonia Nicosia from 2018 to 2021, with their first sponsorship deal announced this summer, going to Anorthosis.

Asked why they had chosen Anorthosis, Reppa pointed out that the Famagusta team has 31 local titles and the most loyal fans.

Anorthosis has won the Cyprus league 13 times, the cup 11 times, and the super cup seven times.

“Anorthosis was also the first team to qualify for a European tournament group stage,” said Reppa recalling memories from the tough qualifying games the team had in 2008.

After winning the domestic league 2007–2008, Anorthosis qualified for the 2008–2009 UEFA Champions League group stage, over-powering Armenian champions FC Pyunik, Austrian champions Rapid Wien and Greek champions Olympiacos Piraeus in the qualifying rounds.

The sponsorship details of the deal with Anorthosis were not disclosed, but Fonbet has confirmed that the average sponsorship given to the five top-flight teams is €500,000.

The deal with the Famagusta team is for two years.

Fonbet also announced sponsorship deals with first division teams, Pafos FC, Olympiacos Nicosia, and newcomers Akritas Chlorakas and Paralimni.

The deals with Pafos FC and Akritas are for two years, while the deals with Olympiacos and Paralimni are for one.

Reppa said that Fonbet does not want just to be a name on the clubs’ shirts but to be a part of the teams and their fans.

She said the firm had been impressed by the culture of the Cypriot fans, which she found to be friendly and passionate about their clubs.

Reppa said that Fonbet’s strategy is to develop the brand in connection with sporting events, and she feels sure that Cypriot fans will welcome their efforts to contribute to local sport.

Reppa said the company is not only eyeing the major clubs but also seeking to carry out its social responsibility obligations by sponsoring teams in the second division.

Fonbet this year will be sponsoring Achironas-Onisilos FC, Omonia 29 May, and PAEEK Kerynia, pumping in much-needed liquidity for the survival of smaller clubs.

Omonia 29 May is the splinter team created by Omonia Nicosia fans who disagreed with the takeover by New York-based investor Stavros Papastavrou in 2018.

Apart from sponsoring football teams, Fonbet has expanded its deals to electronic sports, which have recently caught on.

The firm sponsors OLB Fonbet, one of the main competitors in the Cyprus e-sports football championship.

Fonbet operates 100 sports betting outlets in Moscow and a further 1,000 in the Russian regions.

It was reportedly the biggest advertising spender on Russian TV during the last World Cup, having outlaid more than all the official sponsors combined.

Fonbet has also been the official sponsor of the Russian National football team, apart from sponsoring Euroleague Basketball and the International Ice Hockey Federation.