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New Sponsorship Deal Continues Watford’s Summer Transformation

Watford FC's summer revamp to prepare for a stronger push towards promotion continues with an important announcement. MrQ has been named as a new primary sponsor, and importantly for the club, the deal has broken the EFL record.

The reveal of Watford’s new home kit came with the unveiling of the new principal sponsor on the shirt: MrQ. The stylised black and yellow diagonal sashes for the new kit blend the sponsor’s logo well, which itself is encased in a bold and black outline. Made by Kelme, it looks to be a winner for the Hornets, replacing the all-yellow torso and sleeves of last season’s shirt.

Importantly for club operations, the MrQ partnership has marked a new record. The independently-owned Hertfordshire gambling company is now in a multi-year deal with the club, with the sum breaking the old record deal for a team in the EFL. As commercial director Paul O’Brien said, “The MrQ agreement is a very strong financial deal for the club and it also has longevity.”

The team’s last sponsor was on the front of the shirt for two seasons, as was the sponsor for the two seasons before that. Much like the job of head coach, Watford has been notoriously lacking in long-term commitment in the sponsorship department, but the proposition and branding of MrQ appear to have changed the approach of the club. After all, MrQ is an iGaming challenger brand, with its novel methods seen as “[doing] business right.”

What the commercial director means by this likely narrows in on the ways that MrQ eschews regular iGaming practices. The brand wants to be direct, open, honest, and fair. To achieve this, one thing that they do is offer free spins to new players that aren't tied up in wagering requirements. After a deposit triggers the bonus, any winnings that come from the bonus funds are awarded in real cash that can be withdrawn.

The branding of fairness, being clear-cut, and being quintessentially British are all traits that Watford FC want to be associated with, especially with the ongoing grumbles surrounding on-shirt gambling sponsors. For many, local businesses also earn a lot of goodwill, and as MrQ is independently owned, a lot of the common criticism is also alleviated. Essentially, it's a perfect partnership choice for Watford.

It's also this local business element that MrQ reportedly wants to make the most of as the prime partner of the club. As stated by founder Savvas Fellas, "this deal represents a lot more than just a sponsorship," continuing that "we're keen to play our part in the local community." They're proud of being a Hertfordshire-based business, and it'll help the club and the brand click.

MrQ will be the main shirt sponsor and feature around the sponsorship boards from the very first game of this season. The partnership opens at a time when Watford has a new manager, Valérien Ismaël, and has seen its star player depart for a hefty transfer fee of around £29 million.