Significant investment comes at a price for historic racetrack
USA: You have to feel sorry for commercial sponsors sometimes. Honest, guv.
While businesses seldom choose to back any sport for purely altruistic reasons, there are plenty of other ways for them to allocate their marketing spend, so they have a right to expect some sort of bang for their buck.
As such, it must surely rankle when high-profile races like the Paddy Power Gold Cup and the Ladbrokes Trophy are still referred to by their famous former names, the Mackeson and the Hennessy.
For our international visitors, those are famous old British jump races formerly backed by two of sporting world’s longest sponsorships – but the sentiment applies worldwide. Sandown racecourse in Melbourne hasn’t been called Sandown for more than a decade, having been Betfair Park, William Hill Park, and Ladbrokes Park. Really, though, it is still Sandown.
Gulfstream Park West used to be Calder before the rebranding. It still is Calder to most people.
Parx Casino and Racing probably isn’t often called Philadelphia Park anymore, but ParisLongchamp is, well, Longchamp.
Sometimes, though, you really have to suggest that it is the sponsors’ own fault if nobody uses their transient names. And so we come to Fairmount Park, the 95-year-old racetrack just east of St Louis, which is about to benefit from a significant cash injection from a new partnership with the FanDuel Group.
In an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, company chief executive Matt King outlined plans for a sportsbook but added: “We’re investing broadly to revitalise the track itself.”
The Post-Dispatch reports plans for the track to bring back the St Louis Derby – last run in 2006 – and fund it with a $250,000 purse.
All good news. Except henceforth the venue will officially be called ‘FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing’. Just don’t refer to it as Fairmount Park.
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