UGP is going from Strength to Strength

by Chris McVeigh

Ulster Grand Prix Interview Series: Q&A with Robert Graham, Chairman of the Ulster Grand Prix.

Robert I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join me today to discuss the 2015 Ulster Grand Prix. In your role as Chairman of the UGP can you provide me with an overview of what has been happening since the 2014 race?

My pleasure, Chris.

Soon after the 2014 UGP the board, our directors and I began working on organising the 2015 race. We’re currently coordinating race week 2015, looking specifically at issues surrounding the race course and safety as well as how to enhance the outreach of the UGP.

Over the past number of years we have seen an increase in the number of international fans attending the event with fans travelling from Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA. We aim to increase the interest in the race across international markets as a means of heightening the profile of the race and delivering greater value for our sponsors.

Are there any particular areas that you are focusing on ahead of the 2015 UGP?

We have made on-going improvements in a number of key areas, however, safety remains a primary focus for us at all times. The UGP is the World’s Fastest Road Race and we want to deliver a product that the fans love but it is paramount that we make the race as safe as possible for both the riders and spectators.

Can you tell me a bit a little more about the work of the board and the executive committee?

The board aims to promote the UGP across domestic and international markets, with the aim of attracting fans to the race, increasing viewership on TV and driving value for our sponsors.

As Chairman of the UGP I meet with the executive committee every two months. I meet with the board every month and this increases to twice a month as the race approaches. Pertinent issues are discussed, including such issues as financing and how best to run the race within the specified budget.

The board and the executive committee regularly meet with local councils, tourist bodies, sponsors and other stakeholders to ensure a fantastic race in put on for our fans.

How important is the UGP to the Northern Ireland economy?

The UGP generates a significant amount of money for the Northern Ireland economy. International and domestic spectators spend up to a week in the surrounding Lisburn and Belfast areas, which greatly benefits the Northern Ireland economy. A significant amount of money has also been generated through media and TV rights as well as the sale of DVDs.

Sponsors of the UGP have benefited in terms of both increased profile and revenue as a result of their partnerships with the UGP. The race also assists in promoting the riders and participating teams across a variety of media outlets, which generates revenue for all parties involved.

Outside of the race itself what other activities have been going on surrounding the UGP?

A major project that is currently underway is the building of the David Wood Grand Prix House. We have been working alongside the UGP Supporters Club throughout the project. The foundations of the building have recently been put in place and we aim to have the building completed in advance of the 2015 UGP. The David Wood House is a fantastic cause and it’s fantastic to see the UGP giving back to the local community.

Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me today, I look forward to following all the developments in the build up to the 2015 UGP!

Chris McVeigh conducted the interview. Chris is a MSC Marketing Student at Queen’s University Belfast and is currently assisting in the development of the UGPs social media presence.

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