Following the unanimous sign off from the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR), the Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has approved new media rights arrangements for Irish racing for a period of five years starting in 2024.
As a result of the deal and the authorisation for AIR to conclude contractual arrangements for 21 of its 26 member racecourses.
Nonetheless, five racecourses have not authorised the AIR to conclude the arrangements on their behalf, and HRI has asserted that it be writing to those racecourses separately.
Suzanne Eade, CEO of Horse Racing Ireland, explained that while the process has been lengthy, the benefits will be significant as it has resulted in new media rights arrangements approved today by the HRI Board, which represent an ‘extremely positive deal for all Irish racecourses’.
She added: “Irish media rights revenues have increased by nearly 50% since the last deal was agreed at the end of 2015 and has grown more than six-fold between 2007 and 2022. Based on future growth projections, it is hoped that the total value could grow by an estimated further 50% by 2028.”
The board described the media rights sales process as ‘open, fair, robust and transparent’, with a ‘significant degree of independent oversight’.
“The distribution element of the deal involved intensive negotiations between AIR and HRI, and the arrangements have been accepted by the HRI Board and the vast majority of racecourses,” Eade continued.
This will see the overall percentage of the total revenues received by racecourses growing progressively over the next five years.
The CEO concluded: “The income flowing to racecourses will be distributed on an open, transparent and equitable basis, with each racecourse receiving revenues largely derived from the betting turnover on their respective individual fixtures.
“Despite recession, Covid and a myriad of challenges, racecourses small and large have not just survived, but most have thrived, through two decades of a collective approach on media rights. They have done so for a number of reasons, but primarily because of the strength of staying united and keeping sight of the bigger picture.”