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Pedigree pulls major show sponsorship
Crufts support is to be maintained


Pedigree Masterfoods, arguably the most benevolent sponsor ever to grace the show scene, is to withdraw sponsorship from the group and general championship shows from 2008. It will, however, continue its commitment to sponsor Crufts held at the NEC in March.

The move comes after the company has seen other major players in the petfood industry break into their ‘arrangement’ with shows in recent years.

Change

Perhaps the most significant change in recent years was the total sponsorship of shows by other food companies and back in 2005 the move by the Kennel Club to quell the ‘food wars’ which broke out when contractual sponsorship became part of the armoury aimed at exhibitors who elected to use other foods.

The press release issued on Tuesday this week said, ‘As part of on-going business reviews, Mars Petcare has undertaken an extensive assessment of its sponsorship commitments and has come to the difficult decision that, after many years of support, it will no longer be sponsoring Group and General Championship dog shows.

‘Pedigree first sponsored championship dog shows almost 40 years ago. This support has now extended to 32 shows and helped the societies to develop today’s whole show experience. With this level of involvement and long heritage in this arena, Pedigree has not taken this decision lightly.

Prescence

‘Pedigree’s commitment to the world of dog showing remains. It will continue it’s on-going support of general championship shows through trade stand presence, team attendance and the continued support of the Pedigree Champions and Veterans Stakes. Pedigree will also remain principal sponsor of Crufts, the world’s greatest dog show.’

Neil Thompson the National Breeder Manager for Pedigree said: ‘The decision to no longer sponsor Group and General Championship shows has been an extremely difficult one. Pedigree has a long and established heritage in the breed show arena and the world of breeders remains key to the brand as demonstrated by our continued operation of the Pedigree Breeder Service.’ He added: ‘We look forward to continuing our relationship with shows, breeders and exhibitors, with whom we work so closely and who have all supported us for so many years.’

A Kennel Club press release issue at the same time said, 'Mars Petcare has advised the Kennel Club that, as part of a strategic review of its sponsorship commitments, it has been decided no longer to provide Pedigree sponsorship for Group and General Championship Shows after the end of the 2007 Calendar.

'Whilst it is good to note that Pedigree will still support shows with their stand, their Breeder Team and through their popular Stakes’ Classes, the Kennel Club is very conscious that the news about the withdrawal of their sponsorship finance from a significant number of Group and General Championship Shows will be of great concern to the respective Show Committees and to exhibitors.

'Therefore, the Kennel Club has offered advisory help and support for the relevant Societies. Meetings with the Chairman, the Chief Executive and relevant members of the Kennel Club team will be set up for those Societies that wish to discuss the issues involved. It is everyone’s wish that the Shows are able to continue to provide excellent facilities and opportunities for the many thousands of exhibitors who compete.

'The contribution Pedigree has made to the Show scene, over 37 years, cannot go without mention. Grateful thanks and appreciation must be expressed for the company’s past support, together with a strong desire to continue working together to promote dogs and the dog showing world in the future and to making a difference for dogs generally.

'Pedigree will continue to maintain its position as Principal Supporter of Crufts and the Kennel Club looks forward to continuing this relationship over the coming years.'

Once, the Pedigree stand came out of the boot of a salesman’s Ford Cortina. Since then it has poured £millions in to the world of dogs. The KC General Committee has benefitted from the experience and contacts of two of its senior former employees who now grace the Boardroom table in Clarges Street.

Pedigree support of shows must cost it upwards of £2m per year. In the 37 years since Pedigree really began to work with the world of dogs in the UK, its breeder service and its elite and dedicated sales force maintains important links with successful exhibitors and has been a model for other countries and other companies to follow.

But now gone from the show scene are the all Pedigree branded items such as ring numbers, rosettes, prize cards and envelopes adding to the financial burden that shows will have to bear.