Peter McNeile: December 2014

Peter McNeile – Sponsorship Consultant explains why Blair is a winning business destination……

The UK has a huge calendar of outdoor events that other countries can only dream about. Throughout the spring, summer and autumn, a broad range of food festivals, equestrian events, music and agricultural shows fill the calendar week after week, and provide a route to market for thousands of small businesses.

North of the Border, this circuit is rather smaller; despite a predominantly rural population in the Highlands of Scotland for example, the choice of events is much more focused, and the largest among these would be Blair Castle Horse Trials, at Blair Atholl, 45 minutes north of Perth.

Eventing is a sport at which Britain excels. Britain were medallists at London 2012, are regularly in the vanguard of international competition, and the UK is a destination for many international equestrian riders, who base themselves here rather than in mainland Europe or Ireland, in order to take advantage of the calendar of events, as prestigious as Badminton, Burghley and Blair. This makes Eventing a very attractive sponsorship proposition – competitive, clean, open to both genders, demonstrating courage & partnership – welcome aspirational attributes – unfettered by over-commercialization, and with ready access to its athletes for endorsements, ambassador roles and so on. And of course, there’s royal patronage, with Zara Tindall in the GB team, and the Princess Royal hosting events and in the forefront of the sport. Above all, the sport provides great entertainment day in day out.

So what can Blair offer in 2015?

  • access to a sizeable audience from Scotland, the Borders and far beyond. Some 60,000 people and 1,500 horses will attend the event
  • a wealthy rural demographic of home and land owners, 50% AB1
  • a cumulative television audience across Europe of circa 29m viewers
  • on site spend patterns that bear favourable comparison with the high street
  • an audience that recognizes sponsoring brands and affiliates with them

Blair is seeking sponsors for the Europeans next September. This presents some brand communications opportunities to organizations that wish to showcase Scottish heritage or expertise to the broader UK and Europe, or just to the event audience. Through media partnerships, experiential campaigns, data capture & direct mail, outdoor, print & online marketing solutions, ticket inventory to generate customer engagement, and of course premium sporting hospitality, Blair can deliver a qualitative sporting and marketing experience.

But don’t take my word for it. There are case studies of clients as wide-ranging as Bowmore Whisky, Mitsubishi Motors and Barclays to illustrate how Eventing, and Blair in particular, can win you business. Blair is a business destination, but one where Business & Pleasure sit comfortably together with elite sporting competition.

Now that sounds like a winning argument.