The Jockey Club, which stages several of the most popular events in British sport, such as the Randox Health Grand National, The Cheltenham Festival and The Investec Derby, today announced a record set of annual results, including the amount it ploughed back into British Racing through prize money.
The Jockey Club delivered its eighth successive year of turnover growth to a record £191.5 million in 2016, up by 4.5% year-on-year [2015: £183.3 million].
This converted into the group’s largest-ever operating profit of £22.6 million [2015: 21.9 million], despite increasing its contribution to prize money to a record £20.8 million [2015: £19.9 million] and taking the decision to increase operating expenditure on facilities designed to provide a better experience for customers and racing surfaces.
The successful commercial performance from the owner of the likes of Aintree, Cheltenham and Epsom Downs racecourses was driven by a range of revenue streams, including continued growth from large racing festivals, its Jockey Club Live joint venture, commercial partnerships, media license fees and record numbers of racehorses using Jockey Club Estates’ training facilities.
Attendances of 1.92 million people to the 333 racedays [2015: 336 fixtures] it staged at its 15 racecourses nationwide were the second largest ever at Jockey Club Racecourses. This was despite eight fixtures [2015: five] being cancelled due to bad weather.
Simon Bazalgette, Group Chief Executive, said:
“It is fantastic to stage events that see the best horses and the experiences we offer bringing enjoyment to so many millions of people each year. That helped make 2016 a good year financially and meant we were able to support our sport even more than the year before.
“Now with reforms to racing’s funding, a settled governance structure and a committed partner in ITV, British Racing can kick-on, matter to more people in this country and ensure the sport has the best possible future at all levels, including its grassroots.”
The Jockey Club is a company limited by Royal Charter. It generates profits to reinvest back into Britain’s second-biggest spectator sport. Since 2008 – its first full year as a commercial organisation without a role in the governance or regulation – The Jockey Club has managed to grow its turnover by 90% [2008: £100.9 million], giving it greater means to support British Racing in particular through prize money and improving facilities for horsemen and customers.
With effect from Tuesday [25th April 2017], the Department for Culture, Media and Sport completed its reforms of the Horserace Betting Levy, to extend it to all betting operators accepting bets on the sport from bettors based in Britain. This is a key pillar in the funding of British Racing. Both the UK Parliament and the European Union approved the legislative changes.
Prize money is considered vital to the livelihoods of participants, provides a return to racehorse owners and is important to the international competitiveness of British Racing.
The Jockey Club has increased its contribution to prize money by 70.5% since 2009 [2016: £20.8 million / 2009: £12.2 million].
Total prize money at Jockey Club Racecourses in 2016 was £43.6 million, which translated into an average of £131,000 per fixture compared to the £85,000 per fixture available outside of the group. In the last decade, The Jockey Club has contributed £164 million to prize money. It aims to exceed £250 million in the next ten years, which would be an increase of 52% or £86 million over the same period.
Jockey Club Estates
2016 saw The Jockey Club’s racehorse training and land management arm, Jockey Club Estates, welcome a record number of horses using its racehorse training grounds [2016: 3,417 / 2015: 3,294]. This allowed more than £1 million to be invested back into those facilities during the year, in Newmarket, Lambourn and Epsom Downs.
Jockey Club Estates generated record turnover of £6.9 million, up 6% on prior year [2015: £6.5 million], with operating profits up to £1 million [2015: £0.7 million]. Jockey Club Estates also contributed to the Home of Horseracing Trust, which has opened the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art in Newmarket.
The National Stud
2016 was another successful year for The Jockey Club’s Thoroughbred breeding and education arm, The National Stud, despite an early setback which meant closing temporarily for quarantine purposes.
The provision of high-quality Thoroughbred breeding and education services, which included stallions, boarding, foaling and spelling, along with close cost control, saw The National Stud generate £2.5 million in revenues [2015: £2.5 million] and end the year with an operating profit for the ninth consecutive year since being taken over by The Jockey Club as a loss-making operation [2016: £0.3 million / 2015: £0.5 million].
On the back of making great strides to raise its profile amongst potential beneficiaries and supporters, 2016 proved a busy year for Racing Welfare, the charity for racing’s people. Racing Welfare supported a record 2,008 individuals over the course of the year, which was an increase of 73% on 2015. The total number of interventions increased by more than 50% compared to the previous year and Racing Welfare distributed 71% more in grants in 2016.
The charity has a clear mission which drives all it does, which is to enhance the wellbeing of people from the Thoroughbred racing and breeding community, by providing comprehensive and individual support during and after their working lives.
Notes to Editors
Group turnover breakdown
Group operating profit breakdown
NB The Jockey Club reinvests its profits, so this can include in-year spending on things like increasing prize money contributions and improving the customer experience.
NB ‘operating profit’ in this announcement refers to ‘core operating profit’. This is defined as statutory profit on ordinary activities after adding back the following: tax, interest, depreciation, share of joint venture profits, exceptional items, Levy Board waived grants, changes in fair values of financial investments and investment properties, and profit or loss on the sale of fixed assets.
The Jockey Club’s contribution to prize money
All figures taken from accounts audited by BDO UK LLP.