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Spring is in the AIR

The Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) has lots of exciting news to bring you today. In line with last year’s launch of their Strategic Plan 2020-2025, its communications efforts have been moving forward despite Covid-19 related challenges faced by the Association itself, its valued members and the wider racing industry.

The Association has appointed PR and Communications Consultant, Carey-Ann Lordan of Red PR to help them to achieve their communications objective this year. Together with their Chief Executive Officer, Paddy Walsh, Chairman, Conor O’Neill and diligent elected board members, much progress has been achieved during the first quarter of 2021.

As racing has been continuing behind closed doors, the association has been making great strides in many areas in recent times and although their AGM will take place online this year there is plenty of good news to share with their valued members and the wider racing community.

Our national racecourses are the venues where the ‘Sport of Kings’ and great moments of thrilling entertainment and joy take place. Similar to a theatre hosting an incredible production, it’s rare when asked how the show was we reply ‘the stage was solid, the chairs were comfortable and the bathrooms were spotless’…it’s all about the drama, actors performances, costumes and the feelings we felt while at the show. It is important to note that, without the theatre, the show can’t go on and similarly in racing, we are so fortunate in Ireland to have so many unique racecourse venues available to our sport and that the Association represents them as a collective extremely well.

From a communications perspective, The Irish Field has been working closely with the Association to freshen up this column for the year ahead. We will be bringing you news from member racecourses over the coming months along with some interesting articles on the workings of the Association and the people behind the racecourse venues they represent who work tirelessly to ensure that racing in Ireland continues to deliver a world-class racing product.

The Association of Irish Racecourses are to work as a representative body for those who own and/or operate the twenty-six racecourses nationwide.

The primary functions of the Association include;

  • Working with other industry bodies to develop initiatives to help the wider industry.
  • A commercial focus with media rights and Wi-Fi are top priorities in recent times.
  • Representation at HRI Board Level, the Media Rights Committee and the Programmes Committee etc.
  • Negotiations on behalf of its members with third parties that provide regular services to members.
  • Communicating key messages on behalf of their members under the united banner of the Association.
  • Organising racecourse commentaries at all twenty-six member racecourses.
  • Providing group insurance schemes to ensure efficiencies for their members.
  • Arranging the services of the MET office to be available to all member racecourses.
  • Although the Association does not get involved in the day to day activities of its members, it supports key activities on their behalf as a representative body working in their best interests collectively at all times.

The objectives set out in the Association’s five-year strategic plan focus on; keeping all racecourses united, maximising revenue-generating opportunities for its members, a greater emphasis on communications, a commitment to continuous improvements of racecourse standards and sustainability.

The Association’s communications roadmap for 2021 will see the unveiling of a branding refresh, the introduction of a new website, improved internal and external communications activities and exciting initiatives such as The Proud Member Campaign set to come on stream later this year.

By Leo Powell.

Irish Field. 

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