The Grand National is one of the most eagerly anticipated events in the British sporting calendar.
The 4m 2f 74y handicap steeplechase is the highlight of a three-day meeting held at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, during April and it is a race that always provides plenty of thrills and spills.
Dating back to 1839, the race has been broadcast live on radio and television every year since 1927.
A crowd of over 70,000 at the course will be joined by more than 600 million people around the world who will watch the Grand National on TV in 2018.
This year’s event is the 171st official running of the race, making it one of the longest standing sporting traditions in Great Britain.
The National is heavily marketed in the run-up to the event.
Bookmakers will promote the race across their network of shops and online, while other sport and affiliate websites will carry advertisements and feature articles. Social media will also play a major part in the marketing process.
Aintree ramps up its online activities both before and during the race, with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram amongst the platforms used.
The National has also had its fair share of TV marketing in recent years, from ‘Come Dine With Me’ charity specials on Channel 4 to prime time television advertising spots aimed at increasing viewership even further.
ITV took over the broadcasting rights in 2017, agreeing a four-year £30 million deal for the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National, the Derby and Royal Ascot.
The broadcasting company stands to make a huge amount of revenue in advertising throughout the course of that contract.
ITV took the marketing efforts to a new level in 2017, teaming up with virtual reality outfit VR City and media agency Goodstuff to show highlights from the National in VR.
The move followed ITV’s VR coverage of the Cheltenham Festival that year, which the broadcaster said generated close to two million views over the four days of the event.
Footage was captured on the day of the race, immediately stitched together and edited on site into a one-off 360 highlights recap, before being made available online from the Sunday morning following the race.
The footage, accessible by ITV’s YouTube and Facebook accounts, was designed to allow viewers to immerse themselves in the most exciting moments on and off the course.
ITV also partnered with Goodstuff and Ocean Outdoor to stream the National on large format digital outdoor screens.
The link-up saw simulcasts run in different places, including the Liverpool Media Wall, Manchester Printworks and Eat Street in Westfield.
This widespread coverage and marketing of the National should ensure the race retains its global appeal for many years to come.