Online casino operator 32Red, UK bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral, and affiliate Bookmakers.co.uk have been announced as sponsors of the UK’s All-Weather Championships, a new series of horse racing events which begins at Wolverhampton racecourse later this month.
Each company will be headline sponsor of at least one championship category, with Bookmakers.co.uk backing the Sprint Championships; Ladbrokes sponsoring the Mile Championships and Coral the Middle Distance Championships. 32Red meanwhile, sponsors three categories, 3 Year-Olds Fillies and Mares, and the Marathon Championships.
The All-Weather Championships run throughout the season from October to April and culminates with the staging of the richest all-weather card in Europe.
Across the season, there will be 52 new class 2 and 3 races inserted in to an improved race program, which has been developed with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), and which adds a further £1m into the Championships. In addition, six new races have been created with a total prize fund of £1m on offer for All-Weather Championships Finals Day.
The season concludes at Lingfield Park on Good Friday next year, with meetings held at Wolverhampton, Southwell and Kempton Park race courses. The first race takes place at Wolverhampton racecourse on October 26th.
Jim Allen, director of racing for the All-Weather Championships, said he was “very grateful” for the support of the online gaming sponsors, saying their support would help re-launch the event in the UK and “improve the attractiveness and competitiveness of the sport.”
Despite having a minimal sports betting offering, 32Red has been a prolific backer of horse racing, sponsoring more than 1,500 races since 2004, with head of marketing Mark Quayle describing the decision to support the All-Weather Championships as “an obvious choice”.
“We find that horseracing offers us excellent commercial opportunities as we strive to provide our customers with the very best gaming experience on the web, combined with the opportunity to bet on horseracing and other sports through 32Red Bet,” he added.
The deal becomes the operator’s second high-profile partnership of the past month, after it sealed a deal to sponsor the Late Night Film on UK digital TV channel Film4.
Coral’s PR director Simon Clare described the event as “one of British Racing's greatest success stories,” praising its impact on the industry.
He said it was responsible for “safeguarding thousands of jobs, keeping many betting shops viable and delivering millions of pounds to the Levy by keeping the horse racing show on the road through periods of bad weather.”
David Williams, head of consumer PR at Ladbrokes, added that the championship was “a truly exciting initiative and one which we're proud to be associated with,” which had the potential to “transform the all-weather programme.”
Sprint Championships sponsor Bookmakers.co.uk is the only affiliate to back the event, with the company’s owner Andy Bell describing his business as “loyal supporters” of horse racing, highlighting the fact it has backed a number of races in the Flat and National Hunt seasons.
“We're delighted to continue our commitment to horse racing by becoming one of the main sponsors of the All-Weather Championships,” he said.