Premier League club Norwich City on Thursday ended their partnership with kit sponsor BK8 following supporters' criticism of the Asian betting company's provocative marketing material online.
Norwich, who won the second-tier Championship last season to qualify for the top flight, had announced BK8 as their new shirt sponsor on Monday for the 2021-22 season.
“We’re delighted to welcome BK8 as our new principal partner. It is excellent that they see the value in working with Norwich City." pic.twitter.com/a4cFl6zaa2— Norwich City FC (@NorwichCityFC) June 7, 2021
But the company's sexually provocative images of women were highlighted on social media, sparking a backlash from fans.
Norwich have named gambling company BK8 as their new main sponsor.Their Instagram page is... interesting... pic.twitter.com/QGJKNn3VpY
— The Second Tier (@secondtierpod) June 7, 2021
Norwich asked BK8 to remove the posts and on Thursday apologized to supporters for any offense caused.
"On this occasion, we made an error of judgement. Our standards were not at the levels we demand of our football club," said chief operating officer Ben Kensell. "We remain highly committed to diversity and equality across our football club and its community."
BK8 apologized and said it had taken immediate steps to change its brand marketing.
"Our primary mission is to provide a safe and regulated betting platform for sports fans," BK8's statement said. "It is therefore essential that we listen to the voices of the fans in the communities we serve and recognize when we are wrong. Now that the partnership has been mutually terminated, we intend to take action to show football fans that we learn from our mistakes and improve as a brand."
(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)