Sponsorship is a big deal in every sport, and when it’s done right, it brings kudos and brand recognition by the bucketload. Decades after cigarette advertising was banned, we can still picture those Marlboro McLarens and JPS Lotuses duking it out on the track. These days, the Vodafone logo has become synonymous with Lewis Hamilton’s success.
We see the same in the world of football – Emirates Stadium isn’t just the home of Arsenal, it is an institution, and has made the UAE-based airline synonymous with the regeneration around the Holloway and Finsbury Park area.
The world of horse racing is no different – many in racing still think of the Martell Grand National, even though the cognac house ended its 13 year association with the race back in 2005. John Smith’s never quite had the same ring to it.
In some respects, the Cheltenham Festival is an even bigger deal for sponsors than the Grand National. After all, it involves four full days of product placement on TVs across the globe. Who are the names that are seeking to become synonymous with Cheltenham this year?
Lead sponsor - Timico
The lead sponsor is Timico, a managed cloud service provider. The company is UK based and provides connectivity, IT and data centre services to various blue chip companies, including Jimmy Choo, Greene King and Hobbs.
Betting companies on board
A look beyond the lead sponsor reveals a whole list of famous bookmakers and sports betting companies, not to mention a few that are not so well-known. This says plenty about the role of not just bookmakers but all types of online betting sites in today’s world. Online Casino Info is a site that assesses and compares everything from 888 casino games to the Ladbrokes betting site. These might sound like diverse topics, but the site owners say they are seeing a growing trend in gamers moving across to sports betting and vice versa.
With the industry generating millions in revenue and becoming increasingly crowded, it is perhaps unsurprising that so many have chosen to spend a large part of their marketing budget on sponsoring the Cheltenham Festival. Unibet, BetWay, SkyBet, Sun Bets, Coral and OLBG are just some of the names from the betting world that will be in attendance and have put their names to some of the races.
Is Guinness good for you?
St Patrick’s Day is unofficially celebrated on the third day of the festival, and for race fans that means only one thing – and it comes in a pint glass with a frothy head. Heaven only knows what the festival organisers would do if Ireland’s most famous brewer ended its 25 year partnership with the Cheltenham Festival.
A good sponsorship deal is one where the sponsor becomes almost symbiotically attached to the event. Ask most people who or what Albert Bartlett is and they will tell you it’s the race that precedes the Gold Cup on the last day of the festival. This is true, although it is also one of the UK’s biggest potato growers.