Why Randox Is Extending Their Grand National Festival Sponsorship For Five More Years
In 2017, Randox bucked the Grand National sponsor trend and became the first non-alcoholic headline sponsor for the annual Grand National Festival. In recent weeks, the UK and Ireland healthcare diagnostics company has renewed and will continue their sponsorship at the Aintree Racecourse event another five years until 2026.
The world-famous festival and its namesake race – The Grand National is renowned the world over as one of the most intense, and difficult horse races. A true test for horse and jockey. Why? It consists of:
4 miles and 2 ½ furlongs (6.9 km)
Fences ranging in height from: 4ft to 5ft 2”
Fences spread (width) ranging from: 3ft to 7ft 6”
Total race time: 8-10 minutes
The Grand National race itself attracts nearly 600 million viewers a year, and when attended by fans, the three-day festival has nearly 150,000 people come through the racecourse doors. Horse racing prior to the pandemic was one of the UK’s most attended sports disciplines.
Festival sponsorship began in 1984, a mere 145 years after the very first Grand National race was ran in 1839. The first sponsor was Canadian Whiskey brand, Seagram – which provided a solid foundation for the Festival to extensively commercialise. Sponsorship contracts followed by Seagram owned Martell, then British brand Jon Smith (Beer), and Crabbie’s Ginger Beer.
Randox’s sponsorship will consist of the naming rights to the Festival and the naming rights to three races within the three days of racing – this includes The Grand National race itself. Other races take place on the Festival’s Liverpool’s NHS (National Health Service) Day and Ladies Day.
However, one slight change to the naming right. Since the inaugural Randox sponsored 2017 race it was the Randox Health Grand National. Going forward, ‘Health’ is dropped. Why? Randox have been integral to the Covid-19 testing and results process in the UK. They have scaled up from only processing 150 Covid-19 tests per day in March 2020, to nearly 90,000 per day now.
To add, a brand so strongly associated with response to the pandemic can have a stronger story, therefore stronger brand recall.
Dr. Peter Fitzgerald, Founder and Managing Director of Randox has stated that they feel the brand and their work is now synonymous with health. Therefore, no need to use the word.
Financial details have not been disclosed of the sponsorship, but it is a definite sign of confidence. Furthermore, a much needed reassurance to the racing industry.
Last year, The Grand National Festival and race itself was cancelled – but with technology and algorithms the virtual version Grand National race (which has existed since 2017) was aired on TV for the first time. It captured the attention of nearly 5 million viewers.
In the past, the race has attracted negative press, and campaigns from animal rights activists due to the intense and sometimes fatal nature of the race - for both jockey and horse. To remedy this, positive changes have been made to the course, the fences, and the rules in order to make the race a safer environment for everyone.
Randox are also the Official Healthcare Partner of the The Jockey Club – which owns fifteen racecourses across the UK, including Aintree.