Association of Irish Racecourses
John Moloney. Chairman
(c) Healy Racing PhotographyA new report into the finances of Irish racecourses has found that, despite significant improvements in income from media rights in recent years, Irish racecourses are not generating sufficient profits to fund the future capital development needs of the industry.
This was one of the key findings of a review carried out by Petrus Consulting of the contribution which Irish racecourses make to the horseracing industry and the financing of those racecourses.
The report also revealed that racecourses play a critical role in the staging of 350 racemeetings annually. The operation of racecourses is extremely capital intensive and some €270 million has been invested over the last 15 years. Racecourses also contribute significantly to rural employment. While the numbers employed directly by racecourses may not be significant in themselves racecourses support not only significant employment in their area within the horseracing industry but also contribute to their local communities through festival meetings, tourism, etc. Over €5 million is paid annually by racecourses in taxes, rates and local authority charges.
However, despite increases in media rights income in recent years, total revenue for all racecourses has remained static at €42 million over the years 2009 to 2012 reflecting falls in almost all other revenue areas such as income from attendance fees, concessions, bookmakers, advertising and non-racing income that reflect, in part, the general economic recession. The report estimates that the present level of profits represents a return on capital employed of 1.75% which is insufficient to fund the capital development costs of €116 million that will be required over the next 15 years in order to maintain the current standard of facilities.
John Moloney, Chairman of the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) said "It is clear from the report that, despite significant increases in media rights income in recent years, racecourses cannot afford to take any further cuts in income or increases in costs without some negative effect on the level/quality of services that it currently provides to the wider racing industry."