Arena Racing Company (“ARC”), Britain’s largest racecourse group, announced today a significant boost to prize money across the group’s 15 racecourses. In 2013 total prize money at ARC operated tracks will reach £24.3m, an increase of 18.5% on 2012’s total of £20.5m
The £3.8m rise in prize money reflects an additional £1.0m worth of contribution from ARC combined with a £2.8m increase in the Levy Board income and associated funds. The groups executive contribution now totals £9.6m, which amounts to a 166% increase over the last three years, £6.0m more than that which was paid in 2010.
The increase in prize money has enabled ARC to improve the race program at all the courses in the Group, with a number of races upgraded to re-establish better quality cards. The average prize money per fixture has risen by 14.0% to £42k per fixture. In addition, the Groups feature meeting, the Ladbrokes St Leger, will receive a prize money boost of 9.0%, taking prize money for the race itself to a record £600,000.
Tony Kelly, Managing Director at ARC said, “We are delighted to be able to make this increase in contribution to our prize money fund for 2013. The increase we have received in Levy Board support is in itself a reflection of the investment the Group has put into prize money between 2010 and 2012 in response to a declining levy yield.
We do not and cannot compete with the quantum of prize money on offer at other tracks where the heritage races have been staged for centuries. Ignoring those races and comparing our prize money on a like for like basis where our race programs are similar our position compares very favourably.
As announced last year, following the closures at Folkestone and Hereford the subsequent transfers have resulted in the relocated fixtures receiving a boost to their total prize funds with an additional £200k being made available resulting in an improved race program and increased prize money.
We are making these improvements to prize money but they are only one aspect of what we offer the sports participants. We will soon announce further investment throughout the group with plans in place for track improvements, important upgrades in facilities and a new policy for our major customers groups, in particular the owners and trainers.
Moving forward we welcome the current review of the distribution of Levy income led by the BHA. We believe that our share of that income is not appropriate in relation to the income our fixtures generate for the sport. ARC is responsible for nearly 40% of all racing in Britain and we welcome the opportunity to redress that balance when the review is complete and subsequently be in a position to improve our prize money and race program further.
With hopefully some better weather to come, fewer sporting distractions in 2013 and with our significant investment in prize money we are playing a major role in improving the returns to the sports participants.