Posted on: March 25, 2022, 10:08h.
Last updated on: March 25, 2022, 10:16h.
Bet365 believes in Stoke City FC, the English Football League Championship soccer team it purchased through a subsidiary 16 years ago. The gaming operator stands behind the club so much that it just reduced a huge amount of its debt.
In 2006, through one of its subsidiaries, Bet365 bought Stoke City FC after the club experienced several years of trouble. Things may not have improved tremendously since then, but Bet365 is confident brighter days are coming.
The company is so convinced of Stoke City’s future that it just erased massive amounts of the club’s debt. Stoke City’s burden is now £160 million (US$210.94 million) lighter.
Stoke City Stoked After Bet365 Deal
The soccer club announced this week that Bet365 is giving the team serious financial relief. It converted £40 million (US$52.74 million) of shareholder loans into equity for the team’s holding company, and also waived £120 million (US$158.23 million) in shareholder loans.
On the field, the last four or five years have not proved to be as successful as any of us would have hoped. However, our commitment to the Club, its future success, financial sustainability and place at the heart of our local community remains as strong and focused as ever,” said Joint Stoke City Chairman John Coates.
Bet365 is run by siblings Denise Coates and John Coates, with the latter also overseeing Stoke City. He arrived in 2006, presenting an offer that couldn’t be refused. Soon after, in the 2007-08 season, Stoke City moved up to the Premier League after it finished second in the English Football League Championship. However, weak performance in recent years forced the team back to its former tier.
The Potters could move up again, but only if they find a winning path. Stoke City just beat the Millwall FC last weekend, the club’s first win since February.
Stadium Renovations to Energize the Team
Bet365 isn’t just paying down the soccer team’s outstanding debt. It recently announced a five-year plan that includes upgrades to Stoke City’s stadium and training facilities. Perhaps, in addition to drumming up local support, the renovations will energize the team and motivate it to win.
Bet365, which also has its name on the team’s stadium, is going to spend £20 million (US$26.37 million) on the upgrades. Some of the changes will arrive before the start of the 2022-2023 season.
An announcement by the soccer club states that Bet365 is organizing a number of renovations in different phases. It plans on adding additional seating and a new sports bar at the stadium. In addition, it will add an all-weather playing surface at the training facility.
The refurbishment programme represents a significant investment by the Club’s owners and underlines their continuing commitment to the Football Club,” states Stoke City Vice Chairman Richard Smith.
Additional changes are coming to the Boardroom and Players’ Lounge. The Boardroom and the current Chairman’s Suite will become one large space capable of accommodating 60 people.
The Players’ Lounge will see a complete renovation, becoming a “first-class facility.” It will still be available to first-team players and their families, but will also be available for private events.
Stoke City plays its next game on April 2 against Sheffield United. It’s still early, but Bet365 has Sheffield with a slight advantage.