IrishCycling.com Road Racing News and Pictures

  | HOME | FIXTURES | PHOTOS | VIDEOS | OLD ARCHIVES | |

  FRONT PAGE 
 
 ROAD RACING
 
 STAGE RACING
 
 OTHER CYCLING
 
 OFF-ROAD EVENTS
 
 NON-COMPETITIVE
 
 PICTURE GALLERY
 
 VIDEO ARCHIVE
 TOMMY CAMPBELL
 Irish Racing
 National Teams
 An Post Ras
 
 RACING CALENDAR
 
 LEISURE EVENTS
Racing Reports
Latest Headlines
MCCANN REMAINS FOURTH OVERALL IN 2.1 TOUR OF TAIHU LAKE
MCCANN FOURTH OVERALL IN 2.1-RANKED TOUR OF TAIHU LAKE
MARTIN NOW 37TH IN WORLD RANKINGS AFTER NETTING SIXTEENTH IN GIRO DI LOMBARDIA
MULLEN A STRONG NINTH IN JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TIME TRIAL
ROCHE CONTINUES TO ADVANCE IN VUELTA A ESPAÑA
Search


Racing Reports Last Updated: 2 Apr 2018 - 8:45:17 PM

FBD INSURANCE RAS: BACKING THE IRISH TOUR
By Shane Stokes
20 May 2005,

Email this article
Twenty-three years as sponsor of a major event is almost unheard of in Irish sport, with backers often moving on after a far shorter time. Yet FBD Insurances remains fully involved with the Rás, recently underlining their satisfaction when it ramped up its financial commitment to the race.

The decision to take up a greater involvement in the backing of the contest came about after cycling’s world governing body, the UCI, made changes to the international regulations which govern the promotion of events. Under the new rules the Rás was upgraded this year to a 2.2 race on the international calendar. However, this upgrade came with a requirement that prize money would also increase, considerably upping the costs of running the race.

That might have posed problems for the organisers, except for the fact that FBD Insurance was not only happy to absorb these increased costs, but also to take over sole sponsorship of the event.

‘The Rás has been hugely beneficial for us as a sponsorship,’ says marketing director Adrian Taheny, explaining their increased involvement. ‘Very few people stay with a sponsorship for such a long time, so the fact that FBD has done just that shows how successful this has been. Despite the rise in cost of running the event, it didn’t take us too long to decide that we wanted to become even more involved.’

Taheny said that the nature of the race works out very well for FBD, now the largest Irish owned and controlled insurance group. ‘As a company, we look at things like the All Ireland football and hurling as possible sponsorships, but they are tied up with Bank of Ireland and Guinness. We can’t get at those, so the next best thing as an individual contest for us is the Rás. It fits in very well because it is a national event.’

‘The race may be concentrated in just one week but in that time you get great coverage in the media through the papers, and also on television. Making the six o’clock news every evening is fantastic for us as a sponsor, and we often get the extra kick at nine o’clock as well.’

Besides the welcome media publicity, Taheny points out that the mobile nature of the event is also of benefit. In moving to a different stage end location every day, the FBD Insurance Rás passes by countless thousands of spectators en route and concludes in front of large crowds at each stage finish. This brings the race (and the brand name) directly to many, many people over the course of the eight day contest. Furthermore, the diverse spread of the insurance company throughout Ireland further enhances this return.

‘A big plus for our backing of the race is the fact that we have a network offices all over the country,’ he explains. ‘We have fifty of them so this event suits us very well, travelling around Ireland and finishing in those places. This reinforces the link between the sponsorship and the race.’

‘We disrupt the whole country with the FBD Insurance Rás moving around and then, whatever town it is going into, we always have our local people there at the finish. They say a few words on the podium and get the local coverage. We tend to focus on the local people – for example, I don’t go up and stand on the stage and say a few worlds when we go into a town. I want the local people to get involved. And in most of the locations, our local offices staff will be involved in one way or another with the local committee. Certainly if the latter need a hand, they are very happy to do that.’

‘So it is very good profile for our local offices and, overall, it offers a very good national profile for us.’

Taheny points out that this year’s edition will be an important one in helping people to get used to the new title. There is a small but important change this year, the name transforming from the FBD Milk Rás to the FBD Insurance Rás in the wake of the change in sponsorship. He expects this new title will take some time to be fully absorbed. An example from the GAA illustrates his point. ‘I was working in banking when the Bank of Ireland took over the All Stars from Carrolls,’ he says. ‘It was six or seven years before people began to recognise it as the Bank of Ireland All Stars, so it might take a little time for this change to fully sink in.’

It’s not all about the business end of things, though. As is the case with anyone who has spent time on the race, Taheny has developed a big affection for the Rás. ‘I first came along when I joined the company in 1997, and have been on it every year since. I remember being picked up in Oranmore in the first year and travelling in the commissaire’s car. The excitement of it all was just incredible. It was very, very exciting to be right there in the thick of things, watching the action.’

‘At this stage now it is hard to get as close to the racing because the event has expanded, the field is bigger and it has become so professional. It is still a great event to go around with, though. The Rás has its own unique atmosphere and the bunch of people that work on it are great. It is infectious. Once you experience it, most people want to stick with it and stay associated with it. I certainly felt that way as well.’


Back to top of Page

© Copyright IrishCycling.com



Footer

Copying prohibited, All contents © IrishCycling.com 2000 - 2018. All rights reserved. || Disclaimer || About || Contact Us || Home ||