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Horse Racing UK: Jockey Club reports 19% attendance increase in 1st half of 2015

Horse Racing UK: Jockey Club reports 19% attendance increase in 1st half of 2015Total attendances at Jockey Club Racecourses, the UK's leading racecourse group, have risen by 19% in the first six months of 2015, according to new figures published today.
Setting a record pace for the year, this is the first time that crowds at The Jockey Club's racing events have surpassed the one million mark by the end of June.
Average attendances at The Jockey Club's 15 racecourses, which have so far staged iconic events such as the Cheltenham Festival, the Crabbie's Grand National and The Investec Derby, also increased year-on-year by 27% from 5,319 to 6,744, despite hosting 6% fewer fixtures.
This bumper first half of the year puts The Jockey Club, which reinvests all its profits into the sport for British racing's long-term benefit, on course to beat its annual attendance record set in 2011 when crowds of 1.9 million attended its racing events.
At the halfway point of that year, 991,564 people had attended The Jockey Club’s fixtures – 87,437 fewer than the same stage in 2015.
Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said:
“Our racing crowds are up 27% on average and 19% in total for the first half of this year and that’s seen us welcome more than 1 million people in the fastest time ever. We’re absolutely delighted and from asking our customers we know that our racing is increasingly being seen as a great thrill and a good value experience by people of all backgrounds and ages."
‎Outlining the key reasons behind the boost in attendances, Fisher added:
“As consumer confidence returns you might make the link to this performance, but actually our previous record year came during the downturn and general admissions held up really well through those tough times. However, the economy is a major factor in the record hospitality sales we’re now achieving, which was a revenue stream that crashed and has now returned with interest with the economic recovery and as a result of us creating new hospitality choices with a greater range of price points to attract customers back.
“We are getting smarter at marketing our events and the sport as a whole, and we have some really effective sales teams who deserve a lot of the credit for this great start to the year. With 15 racecourses all around the country there are also lots of other, sometimes local, reasons behind this performance, whether that’s economic recovery in Ireland contributing to the numbers coming over for the Cheltenham Festival in March which is unique to that event or the scramble to see AP McCoy’s final day in the saddle, which was key to our bet365 Jumps Finale at Sandown Park selling out in April.
“While we’ve invested more than £250 million in some great facilities at our venues over the last decade, racing is an outdoor pursuit so the weather in the second half of the year will be a big factor in whether we have a record year for attendance or not. In any case sales are up and we’re tracking growth in interest levels about racing, which bodes well for the long-term.”
(Source: The Jockey Club)


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