Racing attendance figures grow by 2% despite difficult start to year

Horseracing has continued to grow in popularity throughout 2019, as recent figures published by the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) have indicated a two per cent jump in both total and average attendance figures.

It was originally predicted that the case of equine influenza earlier would impact attendance figures significantly, however the Racecourse Owners Association (RCA) explained that ‘overall attendance figures indicate the durability of the public’s appetite and affection for horseracing.’

Figures have reported total attendance to be 2,801,512, while average attendance per fixture has also risen to 3,979 compared to last year.

David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Racecourse Association, commented: “I am delighted to see the hard work of racecourses pay off and result in an increase in both the total and average attendance figures, with excellent performances by racecourses of all sizes.

“The equine flu outbreak was a difficult period for the sport, but it is hugely reassuring to see that attendances increased despite the national postponement of racing.

“Working collaboratively with Great British Racing, our focus on data has allowed us to give bespoke, targeted support to racecourses via our Marketing Services programme. We will continue this programme and look forward to helping racecourses attract more customers to the sport and enhance the experience of those customers whilst they are on site.”

Larger race events such as The Festival at Cheltenham as well as the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom Downs had played a part in the attendance boost.

Rod Street, Chief Executive of Great British Racing, added: “Competition for the leisure pound is getting fiercer and racing is rising to the challenge. Racegoing provides a big opportunity to get people closer to the sport and grow their interest, so these latest figures are encouraging.”

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