Horseracing HQ boosts economy by £200m+ per year

22nd January 2014

Horseracing, Britain's second biggest spectator sport, benefits the economy around Flat racing's 'headquarters' of Newmarket by more than £208m annually and is responsible for more than 8,500 jobs within a 25-mile radius, according to a new study by leading economic research provider, SQW.
 
At just under £100m per year (£96.8m), the report identifies racehorse trainers as the leading generators of economic activity within Newmarket and its surrounds, followed by stud farms (£81.2m). Racing institutions generate nearly £10m (£9.8m) annually, while visitors to Newmarket, primarily attracted by a day's racing at the Rowley Mile or July Course, are calculated to contribute almost £9m (£8.8m), before taking into account any of their expenditure off-course.
 
The independent study is the first-ever assessment commissioned by Forest Heath District Council, in conjunction with Newmarket Horsemen's Group, to understand the scale and economic significance of Newmarket's horseracing industry and its surrounds. As a sporting centre, the location is truly unique in the UK – not only staging world-class competition, but also housing every other aspect of the sport and its related businesses.
 
Newmarket is home to two world-class racecourses, which welcome more than 330,000 racegoers a year and stage more Turf races than anywhere in the UK; thousands of acres of training gallops, including 2,500 acres operated by Jockey Club Estates; training yards home to around 3,000 racehorses; stud farms, including The National Stud; Tattersalls' sales; the National Horseracing Museum; the British Racing School, racing associations and charities, and a number of specialist enterprises, such as horse transporters; farriers; veterinary practices; scientific laboratories and feed, hay, straw, bedding, machinery and racing equipment suppliers.
 
The study found that direct jobs in the racing industry, plus temporary 'events-related' employment at Newmarket Racecourses and Tattersalls sales, produce expenditure on wages totalling nearly £80m (£79.7m) – some 38% of the total £208m economic impact calculated.
 
Looking ahead, the study identifies what it describes as 'promising signs of potential for further growth in the horseracing industry' around Newmarket. A recent stud purchase by an overseas investor, seen as a growing force in the sport, is cited as expected to lead to substantial additional investment. Furthermore, The National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art is predicted to increase visitors and with them increased local expenditure, including discretionary shopping in Newmarket town centre.
 
Bill Wicksteed, one of the UK’s leading economic researchers and founder of SQW, said:
 
“The positive economic impact of horseracing in Newmarket and its surrounds is significant by any comparison. There appears nothing like it in sport anywhere else in the UK and £208m of annual activity is our conservative calculation for its value to the economy around Flat racing’s HQ.
 
“SQW has undertaken research into the science-based cluster around Cambridge for many years and reviewed such clusters and development policies all around the world.
 
“We knew, of course, about Newmarket’s horseracing prestige, but it’s been a real eye-opener to learn about the scope of expertise, the scale of the horse breeding and training undertaken and the myriad business relationships involved. It’s a real example of how a fully-fledged and integrated cluster can enhance the success of all involved.”
 
Councillor James Waters, Leader of Forest Heath District Council, the local authority area that includes Newmarket, said:
 
“We have never before had an independent, fact-based report on exactly what impact the horseracing industry has on Newmarket and the surrounding area. Forest Heath thought it would be good to work with the racing industry to establish those facts to help us make decisions which will benefit all those with an interest in the future prosperity of Newmarket. The report looks at the impact of racing not just in the town, but up to 25 miles away so will be a really useful document as we plan future growth in West Suffolk.”
 
William Gittus, Chairman of Newmarket Horsemen’s Group, which represents racing’s interests in the town, said:
 
“This fascinating study recognises Newmarket as an excellent location in which to develop and grow a business related to horseracing and breeding. It recognises HQ’s positive international image and world-class facilities and expertise. Simply put, Newmarket remains the home of Thoroughbred racing with real potential for the future.”
 
Matthew Hancock MP, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise and Member of Parliament for West Suffolk, said:
 
"Nationwide, horseracing is a thrilling sport enjoyed by millions, brings in billions of investment and provides a livelihood for so many. As this report shows, its historic headquarters of Newmarket remains right at the centre of that today.
 
"It is also encouraging to see the report identify the potential for the home of horseracing to contribute even more to the economy around Newmarket.”

Download Newmarket’s Equine Cluster: The economic impact of the horseracing industry centred upon Newmarket (PDF)