Aintree Racecourse is looking for a new sponsor for the world’s greatest steeplechase after Martell Cognac announced it wouldn’t be renewing its long-standing sponsorship of the Grand National after its current contact expires next year.
Martell Cognac has sponsored the three-day meeting at the Liverpool track since 1992 but the 2004 race, which will take place on 1-3 April, is set to be the swansong for the Martell Cognac Grand National.
Although Aintree is understandably sorry to see the successful partnership come to an end, it says it is extremely grateful for the support that Martell has given the race during the past 12 years.
Charles Barnett, managing director of Aintree Racecourse, says: “The Grand National meeting, and indeed Aintree racecourse, has been transformed in large part thanks to the sustained support of Martell Cognac.
“On behalf of Aintree and the racing industry in the UK, we would like to record our sincere thanks to Martell for their wholehearted support and commitment. We look forward to a successful final year, secure in the knowledge that the Grand National meeting is in very good shape for the future.”
During Martell’s sponsorship, the three-day meeting has seen crowds increase from 87,000 in 1992 to 140,000 last year, with international interest also enjoying massive growth.
“The Grand National is more than just a horse race,” continues Mr Barnett. “It is one of the three-biggest annual events by viewer numbers in the world and was broadcasted to more than 120 countries last year.
“This is a unique opportunity for a new sponsor to gain global coverage and we have already been contacted by parties interested in helping us ensure the event remains one of the crown jewels in the worldwide sporting calendar.”
The decision not to renew the sponsorship is due to a change in the direction of Martell Cognac’s sponsorship strategy, according to the company.
Lionel Breton, president of Martell Cognac, says: “We would like to record our gratitude to Aintree for being such willing partners throughout our 13 years of sponsorship. We will be supporting the 2004 event as strongly as ever and look forward to a memorable finale to our sponsorship.”