27 Mar 2014 Financial/Political

The Horsemen’s Group and Arena Racing Company (ARC), together with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), today announced the signing of a Prize Money Agreement, bringing the number of British racecourses to have signed Prize Money Agreements to 53 from a total of 58.

The signing of the agreement signifies a three-year contractual commitment from 2014-2016 between ARC’s 14 racecourses and the sport’s participants. The contract covers a range of items including prize money contribution, with each racecourse or racecourse group’s agreement with the Horsemen’s Group underpinned by the BHA. Under the terms of the agreement the sport’s participants share in the betting-related revenues generated by racecourses.

Between September and November of last year, 39 racecourses signed three-year Prize Money Agreements, marking the creation of commercial partnerships between racecourses and horsemen. These agreements, together with ARC’s prize money commitment to BHA for 2014, produced an increase of nearly £5m in prize money, contributing to a forecast total figure for prizemoney in 2014 in excess of £123m, a new record.

Tony Kelly, Managing Director of ARC, said:

“We are delighted to have signed a Prize Money Agreement. We recognise the value horsemen place on getting a greater return from prize money and the mutual benefits of a longer-term deal. ARC’s executive contribution for 2014 is £11.3m, an increase of £2.2m (24%), and with this contract we have committed to meeting the terms agreed with the Horsemen’s Group and BHA for the next three years.

“Following last year’s discussions we have been able to agree a deal which will allow racing’s participants to share in ARC’s future growth which is to the benefit of British Racing as a whole. I would like to personally thank Philip Freedman and Richard Wayman, as well as BHA, for the measured and collaborative manner in which these discussions took place. The team at ARC look forward to continuing to work with the Horsemen’s Group through the tenure of this agreement and beyond.”

Philip Freedman, Chairman of the Horsemen’s Group, said:

“It’s our belief that Prize Money Agreements represent a new era of collaboration and trust between racing’s key stakeholders. Consequently, it is encouraging that ARC, as the group with the largest number of fixtures, has now signed the same deal with the Horsemen’s Group and BHA, which is excellent news for all our members.”

The three-year deals commit each of the parties to working together, not only in terms of a racecourse’s prize money contribution but also in a range of areas designed to bring benefits to all in the sport. Other topics addressed include racecourses having a special fund to enhance prize money according to field sizes in certain races and facilitating racecourses’ access to bonus schemes to top up prize money.

Paul Bittar, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said:

“Prize Money Agreements provide further evidence of the benefits for the sport when the key stakeholders work together in the best interests of the sport as a whole. We’re pleased that ARC have seen value in coming under the umbrella of Prize Money Agreements which was a natural extension of the commitment they’d already provided to BHA.

“Recent developments in terms of Government announcing its intention to address British Racing’s central funding issues give grounds for optimism that the economic health of the sport will markedly improve.”