Jockey Club plans record £20.9 million prize money contribution
7th January 2016
Jockey Club Racecourses, which reinvests all its profits back into British Racing, today announced plans to make a record financial contribution to prize money of £20.9 million in 2016, before any fixture abandonments – an increase of £1 million year-on-year.
The UK's leading racecourse group also confirmed it delivered on its promise to contribute a record £19.9 million into prize money in 2015, in spite of five abandoned fixtures, within record total prize money distributed at its 15 tracks of £43.9 million across 336 fixtures at an average of more than £130,000 per card.
In budgeting to increase its prize money funding in 2016 to the largest amount ever contributed by a racecourse group, the owner of the likes of Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket racecourses will see its prize money contribution exceed £20 million for the first time.
These plans also mean The Jockey Club will have grown its prize money contribution by an incredible 61% since 2010, when it contributed a then-industry-record £13 million. Between 2010 and 2015 the group has injected more than £103 million into prize money from its resources.
The increase comes as a result of continued success in growing a range of revenues at Jockey Club Racecourses, including commercial partnerships and sponsorships, and despite the new media contract between Racecourse Media Group and SIS not coming into effect until 2018.
However, industry prize money funding for Jockey Club Racecourses fixtures has been cut by £650,000 in 2016 and this is also the first year in recent times without highly valuable sales races, which will result in a significant reduction in income from entries due to the unique way they were funded.
British Racing has introduced an Authorised Betting Partners initiative to address the minimum £30 million hole in industry funding from bets on the sport that have migrated offshore from UK-based punters, while the Government works on the introduction of the commercially-focused ‘Racing Right’ to replace the broken Levy funding system.
As the racecourse arm of The Jockey Club, which is governed by Royal Charter to act for the long-term good of British Racing, all profits generated by Jockey Club Racecourses are reinvested back into the sport, predominantly through prize money and new and improved facilities for customers and participants.
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said:
“In 2016 Jockey Club Racecourses will once again contribute the maximum our profits allow into prize money, because we recognise it is essential for competitiveness, provides a return to owners investing in our sport and is vital to the livelihoods of the many thousands of people who work in British Racing.
“We have maintained this maximum contribution approach for many years, which is why we have a prize money agreement with The Horsemen’s Group at Premier level and were delighted to contribute a record amount last year in the course of living up to our commitments. Our planned increase comes without any new boost from media rights; it’s down to our teams working really hard to grow our business so we can reinvest and the support of sponsors who play an important role in our sport.
"We feel we are holding our end up and doing everything we can for British Racing, including attracting record crowds last year. So to suffer a significant drop in industry funding for prize money is particularly disappointing and should only strengthen our sport’s resolve in the need to address this for the long-term health and prosperity of the nation’s second-biggest spectator sport.”
Philip Freedman, Chairman of The Horsemen’s Group, which represents owners, trainers, breeders, jockeys and stable staff, said:
“At a time when central funding is under pressure Horsemen are more reliant than ever on those courses and groups whose prize money commitment goes far beyond what is required by their Prize Money Agreement. As with their stance on Authorised Betting Partners Jockey Club Racecourses are again setting an example which Horsemen would welcome other courses following.”
About The Jockey Club
The Jockey Club has been at the heart of British racing for more than 260 years. Today the largest commercial group in the sport, The Jockey Club runs the largest racecourse group in the UK by turnover (2014: £162.9m), courses (15 owned) including those at Aintree, Cheltenham, Epsom Downs and Newmarket, attendances (2015: 1.95m), total prize money (2015: £43.9m), contribution to prize money (2015: £19.9m) and quality racing (Group and Graded races); more than 3,000 acres of world-class training grounds in Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom Downs; The National Stud breeding enterprise and education provider; and the charity for racing's people in need, Racing Welfare. Governed by Royal Charter, every penny The Jockey Club makes it puts back into British racing. More information is available at www.thejockeyclub.co.uk.