0 Festive Cheer for Racecourses with Bumper Attendances

  • 199,903 racegoers enjoyed a day's racing over the festive period
  • 38% year on year increase from 2021 and 6.4% increase from 2019
  • Boxing Day and New Year's Day the most popular with racegoers
  • ITV Racing's innovative Christmas Festival included six days of coverage

British racecourses welcomed just under 200,000 racegoers in the 2022 festive period as the public celebrated Christmas and New Year in style with a day at the races. This represents a significant increase compared with attendance figures for the comparative fixtures from 2021 (38%) and 2019 (6.4%).

From 26th December 2022-2nd January 2023, 35 fixtures were staged in Britain including jump racing and all-weather flat racing. The highest attendance seen in this period was Cheltenham's New Year's Day fixture with 38,374 racegoers, a major increase from previous comparative years (28,204 in 2021 and 28,876 in 2019).

As the country enjoys a number of Bank Holidays in a short space of time over the festive period, this represents a strong opportunity to welcome racegoers. The four Bank Holidays with racing staged in this period (26th,27th December and 1st, 2nd January) all saw bumper crowds and an increase on previous years as demonstrated in the table below:

Date

2019

2021

2022

26th December

50,896

43,785

55,069

27th December

25,607

13,908

25,660

1st January

48,478

40,876

59,057

2nd January

4,949

3,531

6,885

ITV Racing's strong support of the sport was in evidence again as the broadcaster created the ITV Christmas Festival. This innovation showcased six days of British and Irish racing across the festive period encompassing 14 race meetings and over 18 hours of live coverage. Described by lead anchor Ed Chamberlin as a "bonanza of racing for fans to enjoy", the ITV Christmas Festival allowed millions of people to engage with the sport and witness some of the racing highlights of the year including Constitution Hill's triumph in the Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle and Welsh jockey David Prichard's home success in winning the Coral Welsh Grand National aboard The Two Amigos.

David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the RCA, commented: "I am encouraged by the attendance figures seen over the festive period. Anecdotally we had heard from a number of racecourses how busy they had been and it is encouraging to see this backed up by the data. Whilst 2021 was perhaps a low benchmark due to the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, 2019 was considered a strong year and we have easily surpassed it.

"Racing over the festive period is a long-standing tradition for our sport and many families make it part of their celebrations. It is not lost on us that choosing to have a day out in the current climate is a significant undertaking, and I sincerely hope that each of the attendees had a fantastic day out and come racing again soon."

Editorial Enquiries Editorial Enquiries

Contact Kerry Haywood

07973 394037
kerry@pitchcare.com

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