Coral becomes UK Championship sponsor

21 November 2014

Betting company Coral has replaced William Hill as the new title sponsor of the UK Championship snooker tournament.

The 2014 tournament, which takes place at the York Barbican from November 25 until December 7, will be known as the Coral UK Championship.

Coral also served as title sponsor of the tournament between 1978 and 1985, while William Hill was attached to the last three stagings of the event.

“It’s fantastic to have Coral on board for one of our Triple Crown events," World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said.

"The UK Championship is a true highlight of the sporting calendar, keenly anticipated by many millions of fans across the globe.”

The event, which will be televised by the BBC and international broadcasters in more than 77 countries, has a top prize of £150,000 ($189,000/€234,000).

Simon Clare, PR director at Coral, added: “It says everything about the longevity of both the UK Championship and Coral that this sponsorship is actually a reunion after an absence spanning three decades.

“A lot has changed in the world of snooker and the betting industry over the last 30 years, but the UK Championship and Coral are still as pre-eminent as they were in 1978.”

Meanwhile, the Gala Interactive division of betting company Gala Coral has awarded its media account to independent UK media agency the7stars. The account is worth approximately £5.7 million.

According to TheDrum.com, the agency already handles the media planning and buying for Coral Interactive, with the new contract to be run in parallel though a separate team.

“The7stars has performed strongly for our sister company Coral Interactive for many years and we expect similar success with Gala Interactive,” Gala Interactive chief marketing officer Phil Walker said.

Liam Mullins, head of trading at the7stars, added: “Following a fantastic relationship with Gala Coral Group we are looking forward to working with Gala Interactive and its defining online brands.

“GalaCasino and GalaBingo are at the forefront of the UK’s gaming proposition and we’re excited to help grow these brands even further.”

In addition, Gala Coral has announced its full-year results for the 12 months through to September 27, following the initial unveiling of its preliminary figures last week.

As in the preliminary results, full-year turnover has been confirmed at just over £1.2 billion while gross profit stood at £890.1 million – results that represent year-on-year growth of 14% and 9% respectively.

Total group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 7% from £246.4 million to £263.9 million.

Carl Leaver, chief executive of Gala Coral, said: “The group’s financial performance in the full year was very pleasing with all major divisions reporting underlying growth in both gross profit and EBITDA.

“The significant investment in launching our new online business is paying off strongly, with gross profit up 54% and EBITDA up 104%.”

Related article: Gala Coral reports widespread growth in preliminary results