Dog and Horse Racing – UK – November 2009

Abstract

In 2008, on-course spending at dog and horse racing tracks grew marginally to £302 million, from £298 million the previous year. This came despite declining attendances in both sports, with food, drink and hospitality operations having been the main growth drivers. Although horse and dog racing attendances fell 5.5% and 19% respectively between 2004 and 2008, average attendances at horse racing's National Hunt meetings actually rose by 3.3% over the period and dog racing operators believe the decline in attendances and track closures may be bottoming out. Just over four in ten UK adults are current, lapsed or potential racegoers, giving horse and greyhound racing a potential audience of more than 20 million. However, current horse and greyhound racing spectators tend to watch one sport or the other; very rarely both. Young people and families are the most put off by the cost of going racing – particularly horse racing. Under-25s and parents of under-5s are the most likely to agree that going horse racing "would be too expensive in the current economic climate". Women are actually more attracted to horseracing by the excitement and spectacle of the sport itself rather than its social side or any associations with glamour. Four in ten consumers who have been dog racing agree that the social side of the experience is the most important thing – showing that efforts to reposition the sport in this way have been successful. However, one in five of these also say it's a good part of a night out but wouldn't stay there all night.

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