The Jockey Club, the largest commercial group in British horseracing, has unveiled a record set of financial results, including breaking through the £200m (€228.2m/$279.2m) revenue barrier for the first time.
The Jockey Club, which is governed by Royal Charter to act for the long-term good of British racing, reported revenues of £201.1m for 2017, up 5.2 per cent on 2016. This was driven by gains in the areas of general admissions, media, hospitality and commercial partnerships.
As a result, the group generated its largest-ever operating profit before prize money of £44.8m, up from the previous year’s £43.4m. This allowed the Jockey Club to increase the amount it contributes to British racing’s prize money from its own resources by £2.1m to a record £22.9m in 2017. The Club said this was the key driver of record total prize money at its 15 racecourses of £45.7m over the year.
Simon Bazalgette, group chief executive of the Jockey Club, said: “Looking ahead, we are increasing prize money further in 2018 and we are continuing to invest in the experience we offer to customers and participants, whether that’s recently completing Europe’s largest installation of free public Wi-Fi, further enhancing facilities for racehorse owners and trainers or launching the new Britbet betting service for our racing customers this summer.
“We’re working hard to build the Jockey Club brand to create more value to benefit British racing, including through the record partnership revenues we’re now achieving, and we’re now making some good strides in terms of our efforts to engage more people across the country in our sport, which is vital for the future.”
The Jockey Club operates 15 racecourses nationwide and stages some of racing’s most popular events, including the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National Festival and Derby Festival.
The Britbet venture is due to launch on July 13, but is currently facing challenges in the form of a media rights dispute between Arena Racing Company and Racecourse Media Group, while bookmaker the Tote has also gained increased investment via the Alizeti consortium.
Bazalgette said Britbet represents “a huge opportunity,” adding to the Racing Post newspaper: “All the partners in Britbet are committed to the project, committed in actions and words but also legally through our partnership agreement. The key thing is to make sure that launches in July and is as big a success as it can be.”