Musselburgh Racecourse has performed well during the 2010 flat season, according to attendance and income figures.
Over 18 meetings, one more than last year, the East Lothian course increased attendance by 3519 (+7.8%) to 47,131, while the average attendance rose by 2.1% to 2618.
Income from admissions jumped 10.7% to £539,232, while sponsorship income rose by an impressive 13.9% to £148,000 and corporate hospitality revenue increased by 20.9% to £277,615.
But the good news was tempered by a word of warning from general manager Bill Farnsworth about future problems for all UK racecourses face due to ongoing dispute between bookmakers and the Levy Board.
The majority of prize money offered at racecourses is paid out of the Levy, which is a tariff imposed on the gross profits of bookmakers. Negotiations between the racing and bookmaking industries to set the 2011-12 Levy have broken down but its recently been announced by the Levy Board that expenditure in 2011 will be £60 million, down almost half on the Levy return of £115 million received in 2008-09.
Mr Farnsworth said: “Trading conditions for all racecourses have been incredibly tough over the last year so our figures are all the more encouraging, albeit we had an extra meeting this year.
“The improved figures are a direct result of the investment we continue to make in improving the facilities and quality of racing at Musselburgh and from constantly finding new ways to encourage more people to enjoy horseracing.
“However, the satisfaction of these fine results will be short lived unless the Government can thrash out a fair and equitable return from the bookmaking industry. Without this, we and many other racecourses face a bleak future with diminishing prize money which will hit the quality of racing and has a knock-on effect of diluting sponsorship revenues and attendance figures.”
Musselburgh’s nine fixture National Hunt season is launched on Friday November 19. Mr Farnsworth added: “Despite the uncertainty surrounding the Levy, we have put together one of Musselburgh’s strongest National Hunt programmes and hope this produces the same positive results as the flat season achieved.”
Note to Editors
Gates open on Friday November 19 at 10.45am and first race is at 12.25pm
Issued on behalf of Musselburgh Racecourse by Sure Public Relations. For further information please contact Stephen Rafferty on 07980 598764.