Bell Pottinger Financial wins Arena Leisure brief

Racecourse owner Arena Leisure has ditched Holborn PR and hired Bell Pottinger Financial to handle financial PR and IR.

Racecourse owner Arena Leisure has ditched Holborn PR and hired Bell Pottinger Financial to handle financial PR and IR.

The six-figure account was awarded after a two-way pitch.

Bell Pottinger Financial account director David Rydell said Arena Leisure had made 'a flight to quality' in changing agencies.

'Bell Pottinger Financial took over the account this week. It is the sole PR firm acting for Arena Leisure,' he said.

Arena Leisure is in the Go Racing consortium, along with Channel 4 and BSkyB, which is the front-runner for the broadcasting rights to British horse racing. An announcement on the deal is expected this month.

'The company is going through changes, moving from a racecourse owner to media organisation and internet company. It needed a financial PR deal to match this,' said Rydell.

Arena Leisure has faced criticism recently following the abandonment of a meeting at its Lingfield all-weather course because of bad weather.

Holborn PR denied the account had been lost because of recent bad press but admitted it was 'cheesed off to have lost it'.

'There's no suggestion that we screwed up,' said an agency source. 'Basically, (Arena Leisure has) a new chief executive, a new direction for the business and they want new advisers.'

As PRWeek went to press, Arena finance director Ian Penrose was expected to be appointed as new chief executive of Arena Leisure. He said the timing of the change of agencies was coincidental.

- Go Racing is on the hunt for agencies to handle consumer PR when it wins the broadcasting rights to UK horse racing



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