The UK’s Jockey Club has reported double-digit growth in underlying turnover and operating profits for 2011.
The Club, the largest commercial group in British horseracing and owner of Cheltenham, Aintree, Epsom Downs and Newmarket Racecourses, generated increased turnover of £139.4 million in 2011 versus 2010’s figure of £138 million, despite receiving £8.8 million less in industry funding. At £19.2 million, the Jockey Club’s operating profits were also up by £900,000 for 2011. This was driven by growth in major racing festivals, which helped Jockey Club Racecourses to attract record annual attendances of 1.9 million, plus increased income from media rights, hospitality sales and sponsorship, and the loss of fewer fixtures to the weather. Adjusting for the decision to inject an additional £3.4 million into prize money, the Group grew underlying operating profits by 23% year-on-year.
The Jockey Club ended 2011 with bottom line profits of £2.3 million after tax, interest, depreciation and waivers, which exceeded its expectations. During 2011, the Group achieved its target of paying down its debt by £10.3 million (to £92.3m) in line with its scheduled repayments, following investments of more than £150 million in state-of-the-art facilities and upgrades in the last eight years.
“British racing is on the up and I’m very pleased the Jockey Club continues to be our sport’s commercial powerhouse, working hard to generate increased profits so we can put more back in,” said Simon Bazalgette, group chief executive of the Jockey Club. “The growth in interest in British racing is reflected in our group business performance. By working hard to meet and exceed our targets in 2011, we were able to afford to contribute more than ever to British racing in the form of prize money, despite the challenging economic environment around us.”
Bazalgette added: “That which we can control, I’m pleased to say, seems to be going well. However, British racing is still significantly underfunded. We need the Government to press on with a legislative framework that allows racing to receive a fair commercial return from the betting industry. While this is being worked through, we will see little benefit in the next couple of years, so it is more important than ever for the Jockey Club to perform well for the good of British racing, in order to invest the maximum possible into our sport.”
Jockey Club on course with strong financial results