Greyhound racing received a huge boost when the IGB announced the entrance of Betfair into the Irish greyhound racing sponsorship world for the first time. The online betting firm will sponsor one of the greyhound calendar's marquee events at Shelbourne Park which will now be known as the Betfair 600. The new sponsorship brings a number of new additional positive facets to this year's event as a result of Betfair coming on board:
1) The final will be televised live on RTE on Saturday 12th May as part of an hour long broadcast.
2) In conjunction with the event, 5 regional trial stakes will be run (venues listed below) with the winners receiving complimentary entry to the main event at Shelbourne.
3) Total prize money for the event including regional trial stakes will be over €51k (41% increase on 2011 with winners prize alone rising 25% to 25k from 20k). Increased prize money throughout the event.
IGB CEO Adrian Neilan said "It's great news to have Betfair as a high profile sponsor at Shelbourne Park for this classic event, coming off the back of several positive announcements in recent weeks regarding last year's figures, increased prize money, the SIS deal and the new sponsorship agreement for the SIS Live Gold Cup. We are expecting the Betfair 600 to produce some fantastic racing over the 4 week period at Shelbourne Park and Betfair's involvement ensures that the trend of an increase in prize money for all our major events continues at Shelbourne Park in 2012. This is another ringing endorsement of the popularity of Greyhound racing in Ireland and given we had over 750,000 visitors to our stadia last year I am very confident that Betfair will see a significant return for their investment in this industry".
Graham Ross, Regional Manager for Betfair in Ireland commented today "Betfair is delighted to be associated with such an historic and significant race in the Irish Greyhound racing calendar. In light of the popularity of greyhound racing across our local and international business, we are pleased to be in a position to partner with the Irish Greyhound Board to promote our brand within the industry. Following the successful launch of our Global Operations office in the adjacent Watermarque office building in May 2011, this sponsorship represents an ideal opportunity to work with Shelbourne Park, an important part of our local community. We look forward to involving our 85 (and growing) staff in delivering what should be a memorable sporting occasion".
Patrick Flynn, Sales Operations and Commercial Manager of Shelbourne added "Greyhound racing in Ireland's flagship stadium where pictures and content are beamed far and wide gives Betfair the perfect platform to increase their customer base. I would also like to recognize the support of the Hegarty family who have sponsored the event for the last two years but sportingly accepted the additional benefits that the Betfair sponsorship and involvement would bring in helping increase further the profile of this prestigious event and greyhound racing".
Betfair 600 Schedule:
First rd heats Saturday 21st April
Second rd heats Saturday 28th April
Semi-Finals Saturday 5th May
Final Saturday 12th May
Winner €25,000 Second €6,000 Third €3,000 Unplaced €1,500
Unplaced semi-finalists €500 each: Heat Winners €150 each: Unplaced second round €100 each:
Trial Stakes: Will be run at Limerick, Cork, Tralee, Harolds Cross & Galway with the winner of each along with the winner of the Gain Feeds Irish Cesarewitch at Mullingar all receiving €500 and free entry to the Betfair 600 at Shelbourne Park and lining up in the opening round heat on Saturday 21st April.