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It Is No Longer The J&B Met

Sponsor pulls out after 39 years

Diageo SA, formally known as Brandhouse, and local distributor of J&B whiskey, has announced that it will no longer continue its sponsorship of the J&B™ Met.

La Fabulous wins the 1996 J&B Met

La Fabulous wins the 1996 J&B Met

For the past 39 years, the J&B brand has invested significant resources to ensure the staging of this prestigious horseracing event. Over time it has grown to become one of South Africa’s grandest social occasions and the country’s longest-standing sports sponsorship.

“We are extremely proud of what we have achieved with the J&B™ Met and the wonderful experience it has created over the years. We are certainly going to miss working with this exceptional annual event and team,” says Jeff Milliken, Managing Director of Diageo SA.

2013 J&B Met - Martial Eagle

2013 J&B Met – Martial Eagle

The 2016 J&B Met was the completion of a three year contract commitment to the event. In reviewing its strategy for the J&B brand, Diageo SA has made the decision to end the partnership and allocate resources to other brand initiatives. This has not been an easy decision but we feel that this is right for the brand.

Empress Club winning the 1993 Gr1 J&B Met

Empress Club winning the 1993 Gr1 J&B Met

The first Metropolitan mile was run in 1883, with J&B assuming sponsorship in 1977 when the event came to be known as the J&B™ Met. Since the first J&B™ Met, the event has attracted South Africans from all walks of life who come together to celebrate the best of fashion, music, food and horseracing.

“We would like to thank the Met for a lengthy and fruitful partnership spanning nearly four decades. We are grateful to have been a part of such an iconic event and are certain of its continued success, with an incredible team at the helm to take it forward,” says Milliken.

1999 J&B Met

Horse Chestnut wins the 1999 J&B Met

Kenilworth Racing Chairman Chris van Niekerk expressed much gratitude to Diageo SA for their valued support and loyalty over a lengthy period. “A 39 year sponsorship is a great achievement and as partners we had a tremendous Met journey. We wish Diageo SA much success with their new campaign.”

j_b_met_website_carousol_imageHead of Media Executive for Phumelela Gaming, Rob Scott said that whilst it’s sad to see the partnership come to an end, exciting opportunities are up for the taking. “We are in the process of closing a brand new deal and will announce our new sponsors of the Met in due course. The date of the running of the 2017 Cape Town Met will be announced at the same time.”

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4 comments on “It Is No Longer The J&B Met

  1. Malcolm Draper says:

    I saw this coming a couple of years ago when I wrote: ‘Guinness beer in South Africa is marketed by Brandhouse who also have the J&B label. This set me to thinking that Guinness, being from the same stable, would be a logical candidate to sponsor a race honouring the Coopers contribution to South African racing . I sounded out the Brandhouse Marketing Director Gavin Krenski and he replied: “Thanks for the interest and for considering our brands to partner with your idea. Unfortunately we are not going to be associating with any additional horse racing events or associated activity in the future other than our long standing sponsorship of the J&B Met.” I had seen a warning light when I checked out their marketing code and see that they will not associate their brands with gambling. The Met used to be sponsored by a cigarette brand 555 Express and later Benson and Hedges, as was the July by Rothmans, but norms change and no sport accepts tobacco sponsorship anymore. To quote the Bard; “Ay, there’s the rub” with marketing, especially to the youth. Those words from Hamlet followed; “To be or not to be—that is the question,” which many are concerned about the sport of kings.’ Actually when our jockeys run into issues with alcohol it is partly our fault for putting it in their faces, literally.

  2. William Milkovitch says:

    So now, is our racing a half a notch away from junk status as well ?

    Diageo SA has declined an opportunity to celebrate a 40 year anniversary ….. phew, that’s a slap in the face, no matter if it has decided ” to allocate resources to other brand initiatives.”

    William Milkovitch

  3. Selby Sivuyile says:

    I can only hope the next sponsor will be a silent partner.

    And the social event retains its original title “The Met” rather than being known by its sponsors image.

  4. Joadine says:

    Really sad. People are so used to it being called the J&B Met and I always made myself a promise that I would go some day when things are good for me and just experience all the hype The Met brings. Missed a truly remarkable opportunity to celebrate 4 decades…

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