Time to allow Jockeys to have thier own sponsorship!

Time to open up the conversation about “Jockey Sponsorship” – for too long Jockeys have been restricted for opportunities to seek individual sponsorship.
Way back in 2006 as a director on the Australian Jockeys Association I was just so excited when, after long negotiations and jumping over hurdles from all of the Racing Authorities (pun intended) we were finally successful in gaining permission to have a National “Silks sponsor” from the very generous, and visionary Gerry Ryan with “Jayco” as our first ever National Sponsor.
I celebrated this as an enormous breakthrough as Jockeys were finally being recognised as professional athletes, rather than rolled in as part of the “race sponsorship” or the racecourse sponsorship dealings.
The National Sponsorship funding also went to the National Jockeys Trust- something which was only started in 2004, and with Jockeys insurances lacking back then, this was such a vital source of sponsorship to build the Trust Fund for the welfare of fallen and seriously injured riders.
We also had our own names allowed to be placed on our legs, something which went a long way for the promotion of our sport. It made following your favourite jockey a lot easier for a casual race observer.
In 2020 we see the silks sponsorship promoting the National Jockeys Trust. Is it now time to allow individual riders to seek their own sponsors?
I believe even one leg and the backside could be allowed to be for an individual rider to seek sponsorship, or even another charity you wished to champion. One leg could remain with the National Jockeys Trust Logo.
A new Apprentice starts with the Jockeys Trust logo, and if you don’t have/want a sponsor, the space then reverts back to the National Jockeys Trust logo.
In Europe Jockeys can have sponsors, and this is done within rules and with class. Not allowing for more than one logo and with a style guide I can see this being achieved to the benefit of all.
Intellectual property, sponsorship, and official merchandise are all elements which I believe Jockeys should be allowed to have a say in their own destiny.
Let’s start with Official Merchandise- there’s a new company – “Fan Fav” rolling out some refreshing quality gear with logos endorsed by the individual jockeys.
I love this idea of Jockeys finally being able to control their own IP rights- creating their own brand- making ourselves more modern and marketable now and into the future after riding. This would also go a long way for riders to better support themselves financially into the future and potentially open business and networking opportunities post riding career. Something which is a struggle for most.
Sometimes as an athlete the window to capitalise on your “5 minutes of fame” is so fleeting – and to take that away from us an individual’s is also harming the sport nationally.
Allowing jockeys to seek individual sponsorship will also help promote the industry by raising awareness of and championing legends of the turf too.
Prime example of this was Willy Pike being chanted back to scale by the (COVID safe) crowd at Ascot last Saturday after winning the Railway- I can’t remember that happening ever before, and maybe only Frankie Dettori has done that in the UK?! It was brilliant to see!
Imagine if did get to see Jamie Kah doing a commercial add for Kellogg’s because she ate her Wheaties and rode 4 winners on Cox Plate day? Okay, so she probably didn’t eat anything for breakfast, but you get my drift!
Most sports promote their players. Time to let our brave individual sportsmen and women promote themselves, and in turn, better promote the sport.

If you would like to check out some brilliant and clever fully endorsed merchandise then;
“Love it! Show it! Wear it!” at www.fanfav.com.au

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