The British Horseracing Board today released an independent report which recommends a multi-million pound investment in the marketing of British racing.
The study, by leading sports marketing consultants Michael Humphreys and Partners Ltd (MH&P), was one of three commissioned by the BHB earlier this year as part of its campaign for increased investment in racing to be funded by an enhanced contribution from the betting industry,
The report calls for the re-launching of racing to attract a younger, more broadly-based audience. At present, says the report, racing’s audience profile is ageing and the sport lacks sufficient appeal for customers in the ABC1 socio-economic group. Without the major investment needed to change the nature of racing’s customer base, the sport will fail to attract the level of TV and sponsorship income which is vital if it is to compete effectively in the modern leisure industry.
The report recommends:
* Marketing investment totalling more than £30m over three years, generating additional income for racing of £160m over the same period.
* A strong well-funded BHB marketing department responsible for developing the image, branding, advertising, promotion and sponsorship of British racing at a national level
* Local marketing and advertising to racegoers by racecourses
* Advisory Panels from industry bodies to ensure that all parts of the industry are involved in the decision-making process.
Specifically, MH&P’s proposals include:
* A major advertising and promotional campaign, both national and local, to develop racing as a brand
* A central sponsorship unit
* A national customer database, linked to a rewards scheme for racegoers
* A national Customer Service Standards scheme
The report calculates that an initial investment of £30m over three years would generate new income totalling £160 over the same period by:
* Increasing racecourse attendance by 2.5 million over three years, a 50% increase
* Increasing racing’s off-course betting market share from 71% to 75% over three years
* Bringing an additional 550 new owners into racing per year
* Increasing sponsorship income by 30% per year over three years, including income through SFRO (Sponsorship Framework for Racehorse Owners).
The report concludes:
“”Racing has a choice. It can continue to depend mainly on local marketing initiatives to attract attendance, TV and sponsors. Such a policy will not change the profile of the sport and will ultimately leave racing as a sport of limited appeal, unable to attract significant TV and sponsorship income. Or it can support racecourses’ local marketing initiatives with a national, ‘corporate’ campaign aimed at creating an audience profile that will attract substantial TV and sponsorship income.””
The report was submitted to the government-appointed members of the Levy Board in October on the basis that implementation would need to be considered in the light of the available funding and that the BHB would wish to consider the balance between central marketing activity and those initiatives which would more appropriately be pursued by individual sectors of the industry within the agreed strategic framework.
Unveiling the report at a press conference today, BHB Chairman, Peter Savill, said:
“”The MH&P study shows the enormous potential there is for racing to generate significant income through increased investment in marketing. Sadly, in the light of the levy settlement imposed on racing in October, the funds will not be available in the short term for an investment on the scale proposed in this report, but we will look to learn lessons from MH&P’s strategic approach as we develop an ambitious and affordable marketing plan for racing in the months to come.””
Copies of the MH&P report are available from Gill Nevin on 0171-343-3335. Copies are also available on request of two further studies which were submitted to the Levy Board in October.
* The first, jointly commissioned from KPMG by the BHB and the Racehorse Owners Association, examines the level of prize money and the cost of owning and training racehorses in Britain, highlighting the vulnerability of British racing to a reduction in, or withdrawal of, investment by overseas owners.
* The second, commissioned by the BHB from consultant David Dillon, examines the economics of thoroughbred breeding in Britain and recommends a £10m investment in breeders’ prizes.