ASA originally addressed the matter as it suspected that the involvement of Savage in a brief video excerpt posted on Twitter in February 2023 broke the CAP Code. Specifically, ASA contended that Savage is a sports figure that holds a strong appeal with younger audiences, which was a direct breach of the advertising rules in the country.
ASA Takes William Hill’s Arguments in Consideration
Soccer players are generally considered to have a very strong appeal with young people, and their involvement in videos and promotional materials by sports betting companies is not allowed under the current regulations.
However, the watchdog has been slightly ambiguous on the matter. Although soccer players are not allowed to appear in videos posted by gambling companies, many have – with ASA’s blessing too. This has to do with the fact that retired athletes who have turned experts are allowed to comment on events and share their opinions on particular outcomes.
In the video involving Savage, the athlete was commenting on Leeds United being relegated from the Premier League.
William Hill used this argument to its favor and proved to the regulator that previous rulings involving retired athletes who had turned commentators and betting experts had been sanctioned by ASA to appear in sportsbook social media content. A statement by ASA read:
William Hill cited previous ASA rulings where the ASA had accepted that a former professional footballer whose career had ended many years previously did not have strong appeal to children.
William Hill’s Choice of Personalities Is Impeccable
To argue its case better, William Hill further said that Savage had not competed since 2008. He works in broadcasting for BT Sports Score and BBC Five Live Radio, with both programs having only a very small presence with younger audiences. Furthermore, Savage also has a very low appeal to younger audiences.
His 1.6 million followers on Twitter are in fact mostly people over the age of 18, with only 0.1% of his entire following on the platform being under the age of 18. He also did not have TikTok, Twitch or Snapchat.
Ultimately, ASA has accepted William Hill’s argument that the sportsperson’s appearance was indeed in his capacity of a pundit, and not so much a figure that stirs excitement among vulnerable groups.