December 31, 2010

Scottish Championships at Dumbarton in jeopardy after Chivas Brothers withdraw sponsorship

The 2011 Scottish Pipe Band Championships, scheduled to be held in Dumbarton, Scotland, in May, were dealt a blow after its main sponsors, Chivas Brothers, withdrew from the event, pulling out as much as £11,000 in funding. According to reports, the West Dumbartonshire Council is actively searching for a replacement title sponsor, but, if one cannot be found, the entire event may be cancelled.

The Scottish has been held in Dumbarton since 2001, and since then has been the first major championship of the five majors in the RSPBA season. The council has said that the event injects more than £1-million into the local economy, typically attracting more than 140 pipe bands to the contest, held at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton.

The Chivas Brothers organization said that the company has changed its marketing strategy to spread across a more diverse array of sites. The company operates several distilleries in the Dumbartonshire region.

With only five months before the scheduled Scottish Championships, it is not known whether the RSPBA has a contingency plan in place should the plug be pulled on the event altogether by the West Dumbartonshire Council.

RSPBA executive office Ian Embelton did not immediately respond to inquiries from pipes|drums on the matter. Stay tuned for more details as they are made available.

Field Marshal Montgomery was the winner of the 2010 Scottish Championships at Dumbarton.


  1. Quoted from the most recent available AGM Financial Review (2007) published in February, 2008and available on the RSPBA website – The Association received a surplus of £14

  2. One more thing, Reserves Policy from the same document stated The Association policy is to maintain a level of reserves at least sufficient to meet the Association’s annual administrative costs. At the year end the Association held reserves of £152

  3. Eleven thousand pounds against one million into the community and the council is contemplating cancelling as opposed to putting up the money if a sponsor cannot be found. Seems illogical to lose that much of a boost to the economy for the want of a small amount of seed money. We are from the government and we are here to help you.

  4. I recently took up a position in security at Chivas Bros/Perno Ricard in the Paisley bottling plant and only then found out why the original Paisley PB suddenly disappeared. The company saw no need for a pipe band. If they see no need for a band why then expect them to sponsor a pipe band championship.

  5. The 09 profit was up by £167m, but running at a deficit of £65m World Wide. Highest paid exec enjoys a £765k salary. Pity they don’t see the advantages of investing in local events, the £11k lunch money woudl never be missed.

  6. If I came to you with a qualified opportunity to realize a profit of 1M for an investment of 11K, would you invest? Seems to me that the answer is to approach the ones who fincancially benefit from the event and ask them for financial support. Surely it cannot be that difficult to raise the money through a business community appeal + local council appeal, etc? After all, it is their potential business to lose………..for a mere 11K in the long run….

  7. If my not too distant memory serves me well, I’m sure the RSPBA reported itself to be financially secure with six figures in the bank and sufficient funds available to sustain the organisation independent of investment for a significant period. That would suggest to me that the loss of £11,000 in sponsorship is disappointing, but not fatal. If I’m wrong, please correct me. I’m sure someone with a copy of this year’s AGM balance sheet would be able to elaborate more accurately.

  8. Looked at Glenlivet and Chivas Regal in the supermarket earlier, but bought a different brand just to prove a point. Disgraceful. I think we should all boycott chivas products.

  9. Like the boycott idea, but rather than just doing this individually, perhaps all the bands should put an image of a whisky bottle with Chivas highlighted and then superimpose a red circle with a line through it on top of the image. This would provide a lot more ant-advertising hits as everyone would be drawn to the image and ask why it was there….we might even get sued!

  10. The contest will go ahead. As Scott points out, the reserves can cover this as a one-off. Levengrove Park is free entry, even if a small charge for spectators is made, you could close the gap.

  11. Considering they did give £11,000 in funding in the past, I find it odd that people are wanting to boycott them. What about the many companies that have NEVER donated money to a piping event. After reading the comments here, if I was a CEO of a large company and considering donating to a band competition, I would certainly think long and hard about it. I would like to thank Chivas for their past contributions. It was nice they contributed at all, unlike the countless companies that don’t.



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