Following the signing of a Prize Money Agreement with the Horsemens Group and the British Horseracing Authority (“BHA”) in March 2014 Arena Racing Company (“ARC”) is pleased to set out its prize money commitment for 2015.
Under the terms of the Prize Money Agreement ARC contributes a minimum of 33% of income from the sale of media rights specific to betting into prize money across its 14 owned racecourses.
In 2014 this equated to an Executive Contribution from ARC into prize money of £11.3 million (£10.9 million actual before an adjustment for abandonments). Collaborated data from ARC, Weatherbys and the Horserace Betting Levy Board (“HBLB”) has confirmed ARC met these commitments set out in the first year of the Prize Money Agreement.
Looking ahead to 2015, ARC will host 513 fixtures, down from 543 in 2014. This reduction of 30 fixtures excludes c.90 races which will be lost during the year within National Hunt and All-Weather races due to the BHA’s reduction in seven race cards, along with further possible losses due to the BHA’s short-term race removal trial. This should theoretically have seen ARCs Executive Contribution fall in 2015 by approximately £1 million. Despite this ARC is forecasting that it will maintain its Executive Contribution at the same level as 2014 meaning it is forecast to exceed the requirements of the Prize Money Agreement in 2015.
ARC has always met all Minimum Values levels set by the BHA and will continue to do so when the new increased Minimum Values are in place from April 2015. In addition to this ARC is pleased to be able to confirm prize money increases for some future races hosted by the Group. These includes an extra £100,000 for All-Weather Championships Finals Day with the inclusion of a new 3 Year Old Sprint Category on Good Friday at Lingfield Park and an increase of 20% in prize money for the Coral Welsh Grand National taking the prize fund for Wales’ premier race to £120,000 for 2015. Prize money for the Ladbrokes St Leger in 2015 will be £650,000 but will rise to £700,000 in 2016.
Tony Kelly, Managing Director of Arena Racing Company, said: “Since the formation of ARC in 2012 the Group’s Executive Contribution to prize money has increased from £8.2 million to £11.3 million despite being scheduled a significantly reduced number of fixtures and races in 2015. ARC’s future growth will continue to benefit the sport given ARC’s destiny is so closely intertwined with that of the whole of British Racing.
“There remain numerous challenges ahead, including finding a fair and equitable solution to the distribution of BHA leasehold fixtures.
“ARC welcomes the Government’s consultation on a Racing Right as it is increasingly concerned that the Levy is in long term decline. Moreover ARC is concerned that the Levy is being distributed in a manner which is detrimental to supporting the grassroots of the sport. We believe this requires an industry review to ensure all levels of the sport receive a fair financial return based primarily on the levy that each racecourse generates.”