The news that that the Internationally-renowned watch brand Longines has been appointed the new sponsor for the Hong Kong International Races has taken some by surprise. After all, why Longines when the HKJC has had Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong’s airline, come along for the ride for this event since the days of Methuselah.
Well, times change and, like what Douglas Whyte and Matthew Chadwick have to face, while one door closes, another door opens. It’s a life lesson and only a fool will not understand and look for this.
In Europe, Longines is one of the biggest sponsors of horse racing and the efforts they put into the marketing of their branded events are huge.
What they will give the HKJC is extra marketing dollars, yes, and also added marketing muscle- and from a global perspective.
If one has a world class product- and which Hong Kong racing is- one needs world-class partners.
Secondly, Longines, as a brand, has married itself very well with other sporting stars- and celebrities like Actress Kate Winslet, the Queen Of Bollywood in Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Longines Ambassador of Elegance, Actor Jude Law and others.
We have no idea what the watch brand might be thinking, but its Rising Tennis Stars Series can easily be adapted to cover horse racing in Hong Kong as, of course, could Longines series in Europe of Racing Stars. There is then the very real chance of appearances by some of Longines’ Group 1 sports stars to Hong Kong’s International Races- like the great Andre Agassi, pictured below- and which will give this event all the glamour it needs and take the end results of the event from being a story on the racing pages to the front page of a newspaper or magazine.
Horse racing in Hong Kong is way overdue some real respect for what it brings and gives back to Hong Kong.
Who benefits from this new partnership? The Hong Kong public, the HKJC, Longines themselves AND it brings racing to a new consumer group while re-kindling interest in the sport to the more established consumer who might be getting a bit long in the tooth and also getting somewhat bored with the sameness of it all. Everyone likes change- and not just for the sake of change- everyone likes some glamour, everyone wants to be around glamour and, sorry, Cathay Pacific, except for some cockpit action, the airline has certainly been lacking in glamour.
In other words, this new partnership is a win-win situation for all concerned while it is also a partnership that, like one’s imagination, can lead to anywhere- except down the crapper- as it has no limits.