Horse Race Name Change Sparks ControversyPublished July 8, 2014 by Lee R
32Red says sharing corporate titles with traditional names of horse races is good for the sport.
32Red has set out to publicly defend itself after a sponsorship deal putting its corporate title on the tradition-steeped Glorious Goodwood's Stewards Cup.
New Race Deal Shares Corporate Name
In keeping with a one-year sponsorship deal, the 174-year-old race will be called the 32Red Cup this year, with a two year extension option held by Goodwood.
In response to the fierce opposition the name change has wrought on the part of horse-racing enthusiasts, 32Red has called on UK horse-racing to work with the media to establish the benefits of corporate sponsorship deals for the sport, a tough sell.
Most tradition-bound enthusiasts agree with voices such as Sir Peter O’Sullevan, the legendary retired horse-racing commentator who called the renaming of the race “sweeping away years of tradition,” with thousands upon thousands of similar sentiments expressed by racing fans in social media.
Other Name-Sharing Deals
However, this is not the first time a race name change has taken place as the result of a UK betting operator sponsorship deal. Recent examples include the renaming of Haydock's Lancashire Chase the “Betfair Chase” and the renaming of Doncaster’s Great Yorkshire Chase to the “Sky Bet Chase.”
More Equitable Referencing
In an interview with eGaming Review, the 32Red commercial director Matt Booth suggested that the British Horse-racing Authority and British media organisations more completely reference races according to the name of races and the title sponsor.
The lack of mention of the 32Red brand name in such previous deals made 32Red see its investment as “potentially wasted funds when you see media and third parties still reference the race as the Bunbury Cup with no reference to the 32Red brand at all,” according to Booth.
Attracting New Investment
Booth points out that a break with tradition is necessary to attract more outside investment to horse-racing, and believes a more effective public campaign on the part of the British Authority and the media can help the public understand.