Horse Racing

Is horse racing feeling the effects of recession?

Some smaller courses are feeling the effects of recession. (©GettyImages)
Some smaller courses are feeling the effects of recession. (©GettyImages).

It’s confirmed. We are still in recession. People are spending less which has led to a third year dip. Sport seems to be variably affected. Manchester City still spends millions on players and wages, but teams like Portsmouth and Coventry are struggling to keep their head above water.

Cricket's high wage competitions such as the IPL are still afloat, but can only be having a detrimental effect on smaller teams that can’t raise to the levels of the premier teams, ability wise and financially.

What about racing though? Has the televising of racing decreased the amount of money earned by the sport? It seems that racing has had mixed fortunes for the differing people involved. Some people have been hit harder by the economic down turn than others.

The bookmaker; you see them every time you go to the races. Bob Dolan, who trades under Bet with Bob, circulates around the North and the Midlands. He told GiveMeSport Academy member Matt Hall: “This thing that bookmakers always win is not correct.

“It used to be a good game, but not anymore. It’s the economic climate we live in. People have got no money. If you can’t afford something you do for leisure, you just don’t do it.

“It’s now all evolved round weekends, mainly Saturdays. It’s become very expensive to stand. With wages and expenses you’re looking at £300.”

The racecourses themselves are having mixed fortunes when it comes to money.

Emma Swinson, Marketing Executive for Uttoxeter told GiveMeSport: “Obviously something like racing isn't a necessity; it's more of a luxury. I think to still have brought in the crowds which we have done, over the years we still had even in the recession last year and the previous year, is good.

“Our Midlands Nationals have still brought in record numbers. People are still coming racing. We've just got to get people back into the sport.”

Huntingdon however is on the other side of the coin. Laura Pierce, Sales and Marketing Executive said: “We do have some decreased attendances on certain fixtures, but this is understandable.

“We just have to work even harder to ensure people want to come racing, have a great day with us and come back again.

“We have increased certain avenues we have found effective such as e-communications and social media.”

But what about the biggest and most recognisable course in the country, Cheltenham? It seems that they are doing better than most in this recession.

Andy Clifton, Communications Manager for the course said: “We only have 16 days of racing each year, so most of our fixtures are big ones, but the crowds will range from 12,000 at our smallest meeting to 67,000 on Gold Cup Day. Obviously the big days are more valuable to us, but the smaller days are important too.

“Last year we had record attendances at all of our biggest fixtures.”

It seems that recession has hit racing in differing amounts. The bigger names aren’t hit as bad; the likes of Cheltenham racecourse are still well off. It is the smaller names who are still required to make racing as special as it is, who are sometimes suffering.

We see from the racing in Dubai and the Dubai World Cup though that racing can still be a big money sport. Does racing in England need overseas investment just like football has?

Does this mean that we will see a collapse in racing starting from the little guys at the bottom? Will it become overtaken by the famous corporate bookies? Has television started to destroy the sport? Only time will tell.

Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Horse Racing
Dubai World Cup

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