Interest in horse racing in Ireland increasing

| May 12, 2021

A study conducted by Horse Racing Ireland revealed that the national interest in horse racing is on the rise. The study also revealed several other things that concern the industry. For instance, more than 80% of horse racing fans in the country miss attending race meetings. As a result, a significant number of fans are planning to attend more races in the future. This rise in popularity of the sport could also see an increase in the number of free bets offers for new and existing sportsbook members. Such a move would also see a rise in the number of horse racing bets in the country. 

Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh acknowledged that the poll shows interest in Horse Racing has gone up during the pandemic. This rise has been despite the races being held behind closed doors since March 2020 due to the pandemic. The CEO also reiterated that it was inspiring to see a massive chunk of racing fans looking forward to returning to the racecourse. 

According to the CEO, the survey also revealed a rise in the number of people getting involved in racehorse ownership. The horse racing boss also revealed that racehorse ownership is a significant catalyst for the industry’s growth at all levels.      

On the other hand, HRI Racecourses CEO, who also doubles up as its Director of Commercial and Marketing, Paul Dermody, added that the number of people following the sport every week had also gone up. According to the research, HRI’s television advert dubbed “On Your Terms” was doing well amongst racing and sports fans. 

Dermody also appreciated that the number of race meetings broadcast on live terrestrial television had increased. This is a positive sign for the horse racing industry in Ireland, thanks to the commitment from RTE and TG4. According to Dermody, the recently signed deal with RTE to cover live Irish horse racing events for the next three years is a game-changer. The deal will offer fans a record number of free-to-air live racing events in Ireland. 

These revelations came in the wake of Horse Racing Ireland’s announcement that it had increased the minimum level of prize money. It also stated that plans for a new all-weather track were at an advanced stage. HRI received additional funding from the government through the Horse & Greyhound Fund.

HRI also revealed that it would be offering more capital investment for the Equine Centre. It also stated that it would begin the project to build the new all-weather venue in Tipperary. 

HRI CEO announced that their 2021 budget was set with the effects of the health pandemic in mind. He also said that they had considered the impact of Brexit in the budget. However, he reiterated that the horse racing industry remained resilient, and many stakeholders survived the turmoil. According to him, the only thing missing was the fans in the stands. 

Kavanagh was hopeful that the efforts of containing the pandemic would bear fruits so that normalcy can return to the sport. The efforts put in place together with the rising popularity of the sport mean that the future of horse racing in Ireland looks bright every day.   

Category: International

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