Jockey Club Racecourses reveals 2012 average attendance increase

25th January 2013

Jockey Club Racecourses (JCR), the UK’s largest racecourse group[1], today revealed strong attendances in 2012, despite the second wettest year on record, the ongoing economic gloom and competition from major events such as London 2012 and Euro 2012.

Jockey Club Racecourses’ biggest events have never been bigger than in 2012, including the Cheltenham Festival in March attracting a record 236,700 people for four days of world-class Jumps racing, the John Smith’s Grand National Meeting attracting a record three-day crowd of 154,000 people to Aintree Racecourse in April and in June, Investec Derby Day welcoming the biggest crowd in a sports venue in the UK in 2012, with more than 130,000 people descending on Epsom Downs.

Total average attendances across the 336 fixtures staged at Jockey Club Racecourses’ 15 courses in 2012 increased year-on-year by 1.5% (5,278 people from 5,199). Total attendances were 1.8 million in 2012, compared to 1.9 million in 2011, as a result of staging 29 fewer fixtures. This included 26 fixture cancellations due to adverse weather, with prolonged periods of rain impacting crowds at fixtures that did go ahead at these times.

Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said:

“2012 was a strong year for Jockey Club Racecourses and we look forward to publishing our annual results in due course, which will show a growth in our racing business and once again the amount we have contributed to prize money to support the sport and its participants. Star horses like Kauto Star and Frankel captured the public imagination, supported by the likes of Camelot and Big Buck’s helping to increase British racing’s profile and appeal. Our biggest events, from the Cheltenham Festival to the John Smith’s Grand National Meeting, have never been bigger.

“Against a highly competitive backdrop and the second wettest year on record, we’ve managed to grow our average crowds at Jockey Club Racecourses, which is a great indicator of the health of British racing. That’s despite losing some fixtures due to the inclement weather that would have attracted sizeable attendances, as well as those conditions consistently dampening walk-ups for periods when the sun is normally shining.

“Whether you look at our average attendances being up or if you take out the impact of the weather from our total attendances, the popularity of racing at our courses increased year-on-year. That’s testament to the really hard work of our people on the ground and those helping us to promote the sport, and is a superb result when you consider the doom and gloom in the economy and the major sports events we competed with in 2012.”

[1] By turnover, attendances, quality racing (Group and Graded), contribution to prize money and total prize money