Alex Dowsett may have crossed the line first in the main race of June’s London Nocturne bike race, but sponsors IG Markets and Sky were also both big winners of June’s London Nocturne cycling races.
IG, the world’s largest and oldest spread betting company covering both the financial markets as well as sports events, is the headline sponsor of this cycling bonanza which combines the amateur oddities as well as the cold eyed professionals.
This annual event, a real visual spectacle, takes place around the famous Smithfield Market (London’s venerable and still operating meat market). Record crowds saw Team Sky’s Dowsett win the main men’s event, whilst Hannah Barnes defended her crown in the Elite Women’s Criterium.
But this year saw a set of new races too. These included the IG Markets Team Challenge (where city businesses will simulate the trials of the Tour de France), as well as light-hearted events such as the Brooks Penny Farthing Race, the Kansi Folding Bike Race and the Fixed Gear Longest Skid.
Alongside the brand benefits that come with building an association with the increasingly popular world of professional cycling – one of the UK’s fastest growing and molst successful sports – the spread betting outfit also engaged with its audience by inviting them and their companies to join in the fun and the racing.
Dowsett finished a second shy of a minute ahead of the second and third placed riders, James McCallum of Rapha Condor Sharp and Endura Racing’s Jack Bauer. Afterwards, he said: “The crowd were phenomenal, they really kept me going. This is my kind of crit and I raced it like a track. The first part was hell but when I saw the back of the bunch before me it all fell in to place.”
Hannah Barnes of Motorpoint won the women’s elite race for the third year in a row, and following her victory she commented: “I love the Nocturne events, the crowds and the atmosphere are unbeatable.”
That was one of several supporting events, with the others seeing Team Schroders picking up the IG Markets Team Challenge, David Rees of Brompton taking the Kansi Folding Bike Race, Jim Sullivan of Brixton Cycles the Schwalbe Fixed Gear Longest Skid competition and James Brailsford emerging victorious in the first penny-farthing race to be held in London for more than a century.
Founder and organiser James Pope said: “2011 was another record breaking year for the IG Markets London Nocturne, with crowds of approximately 10,000 people over the course of the day. There was some unbelievable racing with Alex Dowsett and Hannah Barnes picking up the top honours.
“From elite riders from World Tour teams to the fastest Folding Bike riders in the world, the event brings some of the best cycling talent around to the heart of the City of London and aims to appeal to anyone with any interest in cycling.”
Highlights of the event will be shown on Sky Sports next Friday at 7pm, the first time it has been televised.
What better way for a London-based financial and sports spread betting company to connect with its community than by sponsoring a sporting event in the heart of the City of London that City firms and stockbrokers themselves can actually take part in?
Backing an event that your target market and community can both watch, participate in (and bet on) seems to be a triple-whammy of a strategy.
Whether the contestants in the amateur races actually backed themselves may be a question best left for another occasion.
IG Markets has also recently joined Team Sky as an official sponsor. The partnership sees Team Sky carry the IG Markets brand on the collar and seat of all team kit for the 2011 season – including in July’s Tour de France. The partnership will take the team through 60 races, on four continents, over a nine-month season, and underlines the growing popularity that both cycling and CFD trading continue to see on a truly global basis.
On the other hand, Sky’s big money move in to the world of cycling has been much discussed. Most analysts argue that it has been a great sports sponsorship success story. The brand’s backing of bike initiatives now includes high performance professional world of road racing through Team Sky, sponsorship of Britain’s Olympic track squad, as well as backing mass public participation events such as SkyRide.