Dan Kelly’s FFP – Week 11
“The more the betting sector sponsors, the less attractive the sport becomes to other sectors”
This week, a new sponsor was found for the Doncaster Cup; Socialites Electric Cigarettes. Admittedly, a little strange considering electric cigarettes are banned at the racecourse, but still it brings a new sponsor to the world of racing. Much needed when you consider the current landscape that is of race sponsorship.
In April ’08, the findings of a Strategic Review of the Fixture List were published. Key messages from the consultation process were detailed within this report, one being the views of current, lapsed and potential sponsors. Racing was deemed to have a number of strengths; popularity of major fixtures or festivals, perceived poor reputation was not considered a major issue by the majority, Terrestrial TV coverage and Jump season narrative. One other strength was also seen as a threat, a buoyant betting sector. The more the betting sector sponsors, the less attractive the sport becomes to other sectors.
In Deloitte’s Economic Impact of British Racing 2009 it stated 31% of 2008 fixtures were sponsored by Bookmakers. By 2012, that figure had risen to 41%.
A couple of weeks back I was made aware of the the Horse Racing Sponsors website; HorseRacingSponsors.com. The news section at the time detailed sponsorship breakdown for April 2014. The breakdown showed that Betting accounted for more than 50% of total sponsored races.
Other threats seen by Deloitte at the time of their review in 2008 were; Racing generally closed to new ideas and Natural instinct of courses to choose the immediate higher value betting sponsor than longer term partnership.
Here is a statement from Nigel Payne, Chief Executive of Horseracing Sponsors Association regarding the Stewards Cup/32Red Sponsorship deal;
ATTACK ON THE 32RED CUP OUTRAGEOUS
The media outcry was in our view ludicrous and significantly not universal – from our perspective we took it up twice with letters in the Trade Press:
Normally when a sponsor announces a new sponsorship I doubt they would expect such a tirade of criticism as followed Wednesday’s announcement that the Stewards cup would now be known as the 32Red Cup.
If I were Mr Ware and his Board I would wonder where on earth the racing press are coming from.
Of course traditionalists will argue against the loss of an historic title but for those who do not know, handicap handles are not protected in the same way that Group and Listed races are. If they were we would still have The Whitbread and The Schweppes.
You will have to Google Stewards Cup to find out why it is named thus as as sure as eggs are eggs only 1 in 10,000 racing fans would have a clue.
Is the fact it is now the 32Red Cup going to dissuade one less owner or trainer from entering their horse, result in one less racegoer going to the Saturday of Glorious Goodwood, stop one person watching on Channel 4 or indeed one person holding back from having a bet ? We all know the answer to all four of these!!
With 20% of our prize money coming from the purses of sponsors we are not in a position to jump up on our high horses and yet every time a similar situation occur the same arguments erupt again. 32Red are big players in the sponsorship stakes and they should be applauded as such.
I know it is hard to accept but we really must look to the future and not wallow in the past.
Again; natural instinct of courses to choose the immediate higher value betting sponsor than longer term partnership and the more the betting sector sponsors, the less attractive the sport becomes to other sectors.
If sponsors find racing unengaging, is it any wonder target audiences do too.
- Follow Dan Kelly on Twitter, or read last week’s FFP after the shock, upcoming retirement of Jamie Spencer.
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