England’s World Cup Failure Proves a Benefit to Racing Industry

Racecourse Association chief executive Stephen Atkin claimed England’s early exit from the World Cup had been a benefit to racecourses when speaking about recently published attendance figures.

Figures for the first half of 2010 showed the average daily attendance was up 3.5% compared to the same period last year and Atkin gave praise to the racecourses and Racing for Change for their work in a difficult economic climate.

He said: ”Racecourses have worked very hard at marketing their fixtures, with price promotions and other offers, and they deserve the overall improved attendance.“

He added: ”Racing for Change has contributed too, with Nick Attenborough and his team working hard to promote the attractions of going racing.“

June attendances were relatively flat year-on-year, but Atkin took encouragement from the England football squad’s World Cup failure saying: ”Racecourses that went up against England matches suffered and so England getting knocked out quite early was beneficial.“

News from flat racing’s crown jewel, the Derby, was less encouraging; crowd figures for the Epsom Classic were down 5% from 2009.

It follows the trend from 2005, since when attendances have fallen every year from over 48,000 to the 2010 attendance of 35,325.

Epsom’s managing director Rupert Trevelyan blamed the fall in attendance on the increasing popularity of the Hill, the common ground in the centre of the course.

Trevelyan maintains that overall visitor numbers for the Derby actually increased, saying: ”We know this year’s attendance on the Hill was well up on last year because we do a density check.

”We also know parking income was up, so people have definitely gone up to the Hill“.

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