Ladbrokes has signed a new agreement to serve as the official betting partner of the English Football Association, covering the England national team and the FA Cup.

The deal begins on August 1st and sees Ladbrokes replace William Hill, which has served as the FA’s official betting partner since 2012, and Betfred as Wembley’s in-stadium betting partner.

According to the British bookmaker, England has more than 800m followers globally, making it the most-supported team in the world, while FA Cup matches are broadcast in more than 175 countries.

Under the terms of the agreement Ladbrokes will benefit from “premium brand exposure” at the England men’s team’s matches, and at all FA Cup ties.

The in-stadia betting rights, which have been held by Betfred since 2007, will also allow the operator to engage with its current audience and drive new customer acquisition around events held at Wembley.

“This partnership with Ladbrokes comes at a time when The FA, as a not-for-profit organisation, is investing record levels back into football at all levels of the game,” FA chief executive Martin Glenn said. “Ladbrokes join an outstanding portfolio of official FA partners, providing support across the England team, and the most famous cup competition in the world, The Emirates FA Cup. We are delighted to welcome them on board.”

Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen described football as “the holy grail of sporting sponsorship opportunities,” describing the deal as a key milestone in the marketing-led growth strategy he set out in 2015.

“We are absolutely delighted to have secured exclusive rights that will see Ladbrokes at the beating heart of the beautiful game,” he said. “When I became CEO last year I announced that the Ladbrokes organic growth plan would require us to ramp up our marketing spend in those places where we know are customers are engaged.

“Being at the heart of football in this country is precisely what I had in mind. We're keen to invest where we know we can make a difference and this deal further strengthens the sporting passion that is evident throughout Ladbrokes.”

The operator’s chief marketing officer Kristof Fahy said that as the FA’s official partner, Ladbrokes wants to be “much more than a company which hands over a cheque, sits back and hopes for the best.

“As the best known brand in bookmaking, we have the passion and drive to ensure our customers and football fans alike can immerse themselves in all that makes English football so brilliant,” he said.

Shares in Ladbrokes plc (Co.Data) (LSE:LAD) were trading up 0.22 per cent at 136.10 pence per share in London early Friday morning.

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