Arena Racing Company (ARC) has announced the acquisition of Perry Barr and Belle Vue greyhound stadia from the Greyhound Racing Association (GRA).
The two stadia are synonymous with British racing and have been long standing members of the Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service (BAGS) to betting shops, as well as enjoying a partnership with The Racing Partnership (TRP) since the start of 2018.
Manchester-based Belle Vue and Perry Barr in Birmingham host 103 and 208 BAGS fixtures annually. The new agreement will mean that ARC will play host to around half of the 1619 annual BAGS fixtures.
Chairman of GRA, Clive Feltham commented: “It’s been a pleasure running GRA having been involved for forty years.
“I am delighted to be handing over Belle Vue and Perry Barr to a professional and progressive company in ARC. I have had some great people working for me and attached to the stadia and I am sure they will continue to do a fantastic job under new owners.”
ARC Group Corporate Development Director, Kevin Robertson, added: “We are delighted to have reached agreement with GRA to bring Perry Barr and Belle Vue into the ARC group. We have a strong commitment to invest in British Greyhounds, and we look forward to working with the teams at both Belle Vue and Perry Barr.”
Insight: What the deal means for the long term future of Belle Vue remains to be seen, with the council previously pondering the possibility of building houses on the location.
In an interview with the BBC Radio Manchester, when the plans were initially at the forefront of media attention, track veteran Roy Nicol described the housing proposal as “a monstrous time bomb”.
He commented: “The whole social health and network for the area will just be at melting point. You’re going to need two new schools, probably a new hospital, new health centers and a complete new road network, the whole infrastructure of this area as we know it, will just collapse completely.”
The track has long been synonymous with the Belle Vue area in Manchester, and is one of the country’s oldest and most well regarded greyhound stadiums. Collaborations with ARC will hopefully allow the track, which was first formed in 1926, to once again thrive and allow for a spike in ticket sales and engagement.