Betting brands set for 2021 Cheltenham sponsorship boost

Betting brands sponsoring this year’s Cheltenham Festival are set to benefit from increased exposure, with the event forecast to pull in its biggest viewing audience in 10 years due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures compiled by Nielsen Sports.

The sports measurement and analytics firm also estimated that over £500 million is expected to be wagered on races during this year’s event, with companies focussing on the ‘watch and bet from home’ strategy, feeding the likelihood of a surge in viewership.

The annual meeting, which gets underway today, will increase its broadcast output via free-to-air (FTA) programming, with six of the seven daily races set to be televised for the first time this year, in response to the global pandemic.

As a consequence, the new broadcast plans are estimated to increase value to sponsors by up to 25%, according to Nielsen Sports’ valuation.

“We expect to see record numbers of people watching the Cheltenham Festival at home this year,” commented Andy Milnes, Head of Client Service at Nielsen Sports. “The festival has responded well to its first occasion of going behind closed doors by televising more of its live races. This combined with a reduction in waiting time between the races should attract a huge amount of people to follow the festival on TV.

“This is a very attractive situation for sponsors. With increased broadcast output to a potentially record-breaking audience, we expect to see a significant rise in sponsorship value for brands.”

In 2020, 37% of Cheltenham’s total sponsorship exposure was generated by eight different betting brands, garnering over four hours of total brand exposure.

With the value increases predicted for 2021 by Nielsen Sports, a further £1.1 million could be added to the total cumulative sponsorship value, with Unibet, Betway, Coral and Sky Bet all sponsoring this year’s Festival.

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