Paul Bittar, CEO of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said:
“The widespread popularity of British racing, particularly the festivals, is reflected in these figures and I would like to congratulate the racecourses on the tremendous achievement of attracting a record figure of 6.15m racegoers in 2011. It is testament to the enduring appeal of a day at the races and also to the value of more focussed and creative marketing in these challenging economic times.
“With last year’s figures completing a third consecutive rise and topping the previous high from 2004, there appears to be a direct correlation between positive racecourse attendance figures and a central PR presence to assist in promoting the sport, which is rewarding for all those involved in the sport and supporting Racing for Change.
“As a measure of the sport’s popularity it is excellent news. However it does also highlight the discrepancy with the sport’s overall financial health and it underlines how the current levy system is failing British racing when attendances break new records yet the Levy income continues to decline. The BHA is intent on working with other key industry parties to rectify this situation going forward.”