After getting hit by a maelstrom of mid-year bookie bashing results including four Aidan O’Brien winners at Royal Ascot and Harrington’s historic British Open double, we decided it was unlikely that lightning would strike twice. We offered the biggest odds in town (20/1) against the Dubliner winning the USPGA. 2-0 to Pádraig. It was also turning into a memorable year for soccer punters. In May, we offered to refund
all losing bets on the Champions League Final if Ronaldo scored – 26 minutes into the match we had our cheque book out! We had already paid out early on Man Utd as League winners and Ronaldo as top scorer and we also paid out fairly early on Stoke City for relegation, in fact 90 minutes after their Premier League season debut back in August! Backers of a white Christmas got an early Christmas present too when we paid out on a white one on December 15th.
As the economy slowed we tried hard to put some more change back in the pockets of our customers. Along with our usual array of early payouts, Money-Back Specials, extra places and enhanced odds, we also launched our most generous ever concession, Paddy’s Price Promise. With Paddy’s Price Promise we guarantee all early and board prices for all UK and Irish horse and greyhound races meaning that Paddy Power punters always got the best odds available between those prices and the SP. We also launched our Last Man Standing football prediction competition, where you pick a different Premier League team each week to win their match and leave you standing. You don’t have to be a man to enter but selecting teams based on the prettiness of their shirts, names or players has to date been unsuccessful!
“Eggycam” offered customers the unique opportunity to place bets on which of ten numbered hens’ eggs would hatch first from a specially commissioned incubator. All the action from inside the incubator was streamed live 24/7 on a special website www.eggycam.com. Three weeks later we were left shell-shocked after dozens of shrewd punters caught us napping in the early hours of the morning in a carefully organized betting coup on already hatched egg number six that cost us over €5,000! The techies further convinced us that IT wasn’t just for geeks with the ‘You’ve been selected for Europe’ Ryder Cup e-mail viral video which had over 65,000 individual downloads and even made its way around the press room in Valhalla. Our weekly Premier League video also built up a loyal following on the Paddy Power blog.
After several high profile commercial airlines hit the wall we offered betting on which airline would be next to take a nosedive. It wasn’t long before a massive gamble emerged on XL Airways which saw their odds tumble from big outsiders to 4/6 favourites not long before news broke of their collapse. Subsequently we saw significant bets on other well known airlines but Ryanair somehow always managed to remain complete outsiders! God was also on the agenda in 2008 when scientists flipped the switch on the world’s most powerful particle accelerator – the Large Hadron Collider. Punters wasted no time backing the existence of God being scientifically proven from fancy prices into 4/1. Sadly no proof was forthcoming, just a large repair bill for the scientists after the “God machine” popped a very expensive gasket.
Easily our most colourful sponsorship of 2008 was the Bingham Cup, more commonly known as the Paddy Power Gay Rugby World Cup. With 31 teams from 12 countries taking part it was the biggest international team sports event to take place in Ireland in 2008 and the biggest ever commercial sponsorship of an Irish gay event. The billboards advertising the event were dreamt up by the tournament organizers and certainly managed to raise an eyebrow or two! After three days of fierce competition at DCU Sports Campus in North Dublin the title was successfully defended by reigning champions, the Sydney Convicts. All in all we enjoyed a great bang for our buck!