Cheltenham hit by sponsor departures
Mike Deasy on sponsor departures from Cheltenham, bookie departures from Oddschecker and wealth departures in Ireland
In another blow to the Jockey Club, Cheltenham is having to find two new sponsors for the Festival.
The Racing Post is no longer supporting the Arkle Novices’ Chase and the RSA Insurance Group is withdrawing support of the eponymous Grade 1 three-mile novices’ chase.
It’s not too surprising to see the Post’s departure from its sponsorship as it, like any other business associated with racing, has seen its revenues plunge and cost savings are the order of the day.
But the departure of RSA is more significant. They are no small-fry operation and have been supporting the Festival since 1974.
The new holes in the Jockey Club’s sponsorship portfolio, reported by the Daily Mail, join the Derby where the lack of crowds is said to have contributed to Investec’s decision to leave Epsom.
It is looking less and less likely that there will be crowds at next year’s Cheltenham Festival which is far from helpful in securing new commercial supporters for the two high-profile races in March.
It is also open to question how much longer Randox will be involved in its racing sponsorship. There’s keen interest in racing behind the business and its stepping in to sponsor the Grand National had an air of philanthropy about it, but you wouldn’t bet on its continued support.
Oddschecker is currently promoting the fact that it displays the prices of eight different bookies.
But, the continued absence of some major bookmakers from Oddschecker makes the betting price comparison website looking like a picnic short of a sandwich.
Owned by Flutter, it naturally includes prices from Betfair, Paddy Power and skybet, as well as Betvictor, betway, Boylesports and William Hill.
Yet Corals and Ladbrokes are absent due to failing to agree new terms and others, like Unibet, who are unrepresented, means Oddschecker has lost something of its raison d’etre.
It’s interesting to see who else is in the Flutter stable apart from the three bookies and Oddschecker.
There’s Timeform, part of Betfair, and sporting life, part of skybet, TVG – the US racing channel, plus numerous global betting and gaming operators.
As more and more brands fall into fewer hands, those parts of the business that require cooperation with rivals are going to find life gets tougher.
There are contrasting fortunes for those involved in racing in the latest Sunday Times Irish Rich List, detailing the state’s top 300 wealthiest people.
Last year John Magnier and family, their worth earned through investment and bloodstock, were ranked number nine. This year they are down to number 14 and their estimated value is €1,070m, a drop of €651m.
Just one place behind at 15 is JP McManus and family, where they’ve built their empire from gambling and investment. Their value is €1,027m, down by €418m.
Some way further down the top 300, at number 32, is David Power who has fared a lot better. He’s built up his euros from gambling alone, eg Paddy Power, and is said to be worth €520m – a year-on-year increase of €290m.
His investment in Flutter appears to be paying dividends.