The Sun betting on new racing venture
These scribblings noted recently that The Sun has been active in the past few weeks in race sponsorship under the handle of Sun Racing, and it continues to be the case that barely a day goes by when it isn’t supporting a race. And in just over two months time, Sun Racing will sponsor the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival.
The investment in sponsorship is paving the way for the launch of Sun Racing, an affiliate site which will echo News Corporation’s Australian punters.com.au.
The red-top brand is returning to the sport a little under a year since the plug was pulled on the ill-fated SunBets online betting joint-venture with Australia’s Tab Corp.
The venture never really took off, due largely to low profile marketing which meant insufficient customers were drawn to the enterprise and it was only a matter of time before SunBets became a non-runner, with TabCorp cutting its losses and seeking an end to the deal.
When the online betting operation was terminated, News UK said it still felt there continued to be scope for their involvement in betting. Sun Racing is the new incarnation of that belief.
It has also taken a major step forward towards fruition with the appointment this year of the former chief executive of Easyodds, the odds comparison site, James Garston, to lead Sun Racing. He’s now looking forward to the “opportunity to build Sun Racing and work with the incredible talent News UK has.”
That talent, he says, is in content, marketing, tech and analytics.
Sun Racing is going to be watched keenly, not only by News UK shareholders who were recently told that The Sun more than tripled its pre-tax losses in 2018 to over £90m, but by all those currently offering racing information and online betting.
The Australian operation, acquired by News Corp two years ago, claims it was the first to offer more than just tips by adding free to view form and data, which was previously only accessible on paid sites. This was made possible for punters.com by funding through advertising.
Such sites offering free information are well established in the UK, albeit that some content is charged for – My Racing and Odds Checker being good examples of different levels of content being freely available.
What could be a risk to Sun Racing is the introduction of possible restrictions on bookmaker advertising on affiliate sites. Sister title in News UK, The Times, has been vociferous in its concerns about problem gambling and will want to carry on the crusade having campaigned against FOBTs.
Senior executives at News UK will be hoping that Sun Racing stays the distance unlike its predecessor which was ingloriously pulled-up.