The Jockey Club, which stages some of Britain’s most popular events including The Cheltenham Festival, the Randox Health Grand National Festival and The Investec Derby Festival, today announced a record set of financial results, including its largest-ever contribution to British horseracing’s prize money and a ninth successive year of revenue growth.
British Racing’s largest commercial group welcomed four million people to its venues nationwide in 2017, in the process of staging 334 racing fixtures and thousands of other events and leisure activities. The Jockey Club also operates racehorse training centres at Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom, and The National Stud.
The Jockey Club, which is governed by Royal Charter to act for the long-term good of British Racing and reinvests all profits back into the sport, grew its revenues to exceed £200 million for the first time (2017: £201.1 million, up 5.2% on 2016: £191.5 million). This was driven by increased revenues 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 £44.8 million, up from the previous year’s £43.4 million. This allowed The Jockey Club to increase the amount it contributes to British Racing’s prize money from its own resources by £2.1 million – a year-on-year increase of 10.1% – to a record £22.9 million in 2017 (2016: £20.8 million). This was the key driver of record total prize money at its 15 racecourses of £45.7 million over the year (2016: £43.6 million).
Prize money provides an important return for racehorse owners and is vital to the livelihoods of trainers, racing staff and jockeys. By increasing prize money ahead of budgeted commercial growth and deciding to make a series of operating investments to enhance customer facilities, the group chose to reduced its operating profit after prize money slightly year-on-year to £21.9 million (2016: £22.6 million) – its joint second-largest amount ever. After all deductions, including depreciation, interest, tax and amortisation, net profit after share of associates was £9.1 million in 2017 (2016: £10.8 million).
Over the last ten years, The Jockey Club has nearly doubled its Group turnover (2008: £100.9 million, 99.3% increase). In this time it has increased its Group operating profit before prize money by 39.1% (2008: £32.2 million) while increasing its contribution to prize money by 74.8% (2008: £13.1 million).
Simon Bazalgette, Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, said:
“I’m very pleased we were able to make a record financial contribution to British Racing in 2017 as a result of achieving a ninth successive year of commercial growth.
“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.”
2018 prize money commitments
The Jockey Club has already outlined its plans to increase its contribution to prize money by a record £4.2 million in 2018, which would take its contribution to a new high of £27.1 million, within total prize money projected to exceed £53 million. This includes mid-tier and grassroots race values increasing by a third year-on-year. As normal all projected figures are subject to fixture abandonments*.
In 2018, The Jockey Club’s 348 scheduled racing fixtures will offer, on average, record total race values of £153,000 per fixture, up from a record £133,000 in 2017, a growth of 15% year-on-year. This compares to the average prize money per fixture of c£86,000 at fixtures run outside Jockey Club Racecourses in 2017. Average total race values across The Jockey Club’s Jump racing fixtures will be £160,000 per fixture and £147,000 per fixture across its Flat racing fixtures, in line with the make-up of its racing programme.
Underneath these headline figures, every JCR fixture scheduled in the 2018 Fixture List will offer at least £40,000 in total race values; every Sunday fixture run at JCR will offer at least £65,000 in total race values; every JCR fixture will include at least one race worth £10,000 or more, while 83% of the group’s fixtures will have at least two per fixture, up from 58% in 2017. Every JCR ‘small course’ will have at least one fixture previously worth c£55,000 boosted to £80,000 or more from 2018, meaning that every JCR small course will stage at least four fixtures worth £80,000 or more during the year (2017: 22 JCR small course fixtures worth £80,000 or more; 2018: 91% increase to 42 JCR small course fixtures at that value).
*Fixture abandonments are normally weather-related. Due to the nature of the British Racing calendar there is no guarantee fixtures can be rearranged.
About The Jockey Club
The Jockey Club stages thrilling sporting occasions including the Randox Health Grand National, The Cheltenham Festival and The Investec Derby. Millions of people every year enjoy the special experiences we offer through racing, music, food and entertainment. Governed by Royal Charter, every penny we make goes back into British Racing to help the sport thrive. We were founded in 1750 and today we are the largest commercial group in Britain’s second-biggest spectator sport (2017 turnover: £201.1 million), operating 15 racecourses nationwide, The National Stud, Jockey Club Estates, Jockey Club Catering, Jockey Club Live and our charity, Racing Welfare. For more information visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk.