Rás Tailteann continues its search for a new title sponsor
The cycling race had been without its usual sponsorship after An Post ended its commitment after the 2017 event
Rás Tailteann race director Eimear Dignam: “We have had a couple of meetings with prospective backers, and are still waiting to hear back from that.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Rás Tailteann race director Eimear Dignam has confirmed that the search for a new title sponsor is continuing, almost three months after this year’s race took place. The 2018 Rás was run using contingency funds built up over several years, with this proving sufficient to hold the event.
The race was left without its usual sponsorship when the title backer An Post ended its commitment after the 2017 edition. Dignam, who took over as race director after Tony Campbell resigned, has been searching for over a year for a company to replace An Post.
“It is still ongoing. It is a long process,” she told The Irish Times on Thursday. “We are trying to get the right approach to the right companies. We have had a couple of meetings with prospective backers, and are still waiting to hear back from that. It’s a case of wait and see what happens.
“I don’t know if they have to bring it to their board members or what happens next. From talking to one of those involved, it is a long process. It is also hard in the summer months to pin down commercial directors with holidays, but we will continue working on it.”
Dignam said that the ideal outcome would be for a company to commit to backing the race for several years, thus removing the need to search for backers more frequently than that.
“We want to target companies who we think would be a good partner to us, and who we can also offer something back to them,” said Dignam. “I am hoping to get in the door with a couple of other commercial directors in the next couple of weeks.”
The international event is one of Ireland’s toughest sporting contests, being run over eight days and taking in some of the hardest climbs in the country.
Dignam said that she is facing a deadline of October to finalise backing. While the UCI registration deadline comes after this point, the race needs to start booking accommodation around that time in order to ensure that riders and volunteers will be covered next May.
Another event which was also left without sponsorship when An Post ended its association with the sport was the Rás na nBan. It recently announced partnerships with Just-Print.ie and VeloRevolution, but there has been no update about a title backer.
The event is the most prestigious for female cyclists in this country, and will feature a number of international teams. It will be held between September 5th-9th in Kilkenny.