Bringing a modern edge into a traditional sport

The world of sponsorship has always been a controversial one – whether it’s an ethical conundrum or a financial one, there has been no end of headlines over the years relating to sponsorship, particularly in sport.

Horse racing

Take for example, the case of Papiss Cissé. The Newcastle United striker caused controversy back in 2013 when he refused to wear his team’s shirt, owing to their new sponsor, pay day loan company Wonga. As a practising Muslim, Cissé objected on the grounds that “financial exploitation” is forbidden in his faith, and this presented an interesting ethical issue for Newcastle United.

While that may have been a particularly extreme case, there have been many more examples of ethical sponsorship which have been proven to be pretty effective in sports today. What’s most interesting, then, is the newest development on the sports scene, in particular, horse racing.

In what is considered to be a very traditional sport, it has now been announced that The Jockey Club, owner of some of the UK’S most prestigious horse racing venues, has signed a programmatic marketing deal with RadiumOne.

The technology partnership, it is claimed, will allow sponsors to target highly engaged horse racing fans across the internet. RadiumOne, specialists in programmatic media, will take ‘audience engagement data’ from The Jockey Club’s 15 racecourse websites and social media feeds, including Aintree, Epsom and Cheltenham, to help the club reach new sponsors and fans.

Abeed Janmohamed, Commerical Director at RadiumOne, said: “It’s refreshing to see such a traditional, heritage brand as The Jockey Club embracing new digital marketing technologies.

“Sponsorship as a marketing discipline needs to be disrupted, particularly when it comes to digital activation, which needs to be about more than logos on websites and email marketing lists.”

During a three-month trial running marketing activity through RadiumOne’s data platform, The Jockey Club had a return on investment of £11 in sales for every £1 spent programmatically. Tom Manners, Group Sales and Marketing Director at The Jockey Club, said: “RadiumOne’s tech and data has helped identify over 3.5 million online profiles who’ve interacted at least five times with our content in some way over the last 90 days. This audience can be reached outside our digital channels, across the entire web.”

It’s certainly an interesting move for a very traditional sport, but the experimentation has clearly paid off, suggesting we may see a very big change for the face of horse racing marketing in the near future.

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