Longtime sponsor of Iditarod cuts ties with Alaska race

The Iditarod re-start in Willow, Alaska.
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The maker of Jack Daniel's whiskey says it's dropping its long-running sponsorship of Alaska's 1,000-mile race.

The action by Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman follows a tough year for race organizers who have faced financial hardships, loss of other sponsors and the first-ever dog doping scandal.

Jack Daniel's spokesman Svend Jansen said in a statement the company decided to go in a different direction by shifting most of its marketing efforts to a partnership with the National Basketball Association.

He said a campaign against the Iditarod by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had nothing to do with its decision.

Chas St. George, Chief Operations Officer for the Iditarod Trail Committee, told Channel 2 Wednesday that Jack Daniel's sponsorship was on the lower-tier of sponsorships for the race.

St. George said the 15-year sponsor was a great sponsor. "They're great friends," he said. "We're hoping that somewhere down the road they may decide to look at this race as a viable part of their business plan."

Regardless, St. George said the race is looking ahead. "We're confident that we'll continue to grow the race with new sponsorship opportunities," he said.

PETA lauded the action, saying the company did "the right thing." PETA says it first contacted Jack Daniel's following the deaths of five dogs connected with the 2017 race.

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