Cheltenham Festival announces new sponsor, to air on ITV Racing
Cheltenham Festival, the known and loved week-long festival, is set to be gaining more coverage on ITV Racing this year as its organisers also have new sponsor WellChild on their side.
ITV is normally allowed to broadcast five races, since its partner Racecourse Media Group holds the rights to the festival and the last two races are extremely crucial to the contract with the subscriber-based Racing TV. Nevertheless, RMG has decided to sign an agreement with the free-to-air network in order to reach a wider audience, since this will be the second installment of the festival to be held behind closed doors.
The races will be slotted into ITV’s daily programme which runs from 1PM to 4:30PM. The opening contest of every afternoon will be brought forward at 1:20PM, and each main event will kick off at 3:05PM. The gap between the meetings has been decreased to 35 minutes (formerly 40 minutes) since it is quite a tight schedule and this is the only way to make the races fit.
Furthermore, WellChild has been named as the festival’s new title sponsor. WellChild is a charity based in Cheltenham that excels in the support and backup of families and households in need with gravely ill children. WellChild will be sponsoring the festival as well as the Gold Cup race.
The contract with Magners, the Irish cider brand, has been annulled a whole year earlier. The reasons for the termination were never released.
Jockey Club’s Regional Managing Director Ian Renton commented saying:
We’re really grateful to RMG and ITV for enabling all those who will be enjoying the festival from home to enjoy a sixth race in this one year. WellChild plays a vital role in our society supporting seriously ill children and young people, and those who care for them. Their services have been needed more than ever during the pandemic and we are very proud indeed to help such an important charity amongst our communities, including in Cheltenham.
Despite the fact that it has suffered from a 60% income loss, WellChild has donated more than 298,000 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items to 1,000 vulnerable households during the COVID-19 pandemic.
WellChild Chief Executive Colin Dyer also said in a statement:
As a national charity with its headquarters in Cheltenham, we are thrilled to have been invited to work with The Jockey Club, particularly around an event as iconic as The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. This has been a challenging year for our organisation and the families we support, many of whom have felt hidden and isolated more than ever before. However, we have responded at every turn to ensure that families have access to the support and equipment they need to thrive at home. This partnership will bring a much-needed boost to our organisation after a challenging period and will help to ensure that we are ready to respond again in 2021 and beyond.