Racecourses see 10% uplift in media rights revenues

RubywalshThe 34 British racecourses affiliated to Racecourse Media Group (RMG) received £74.4million in media rights revenues in 2014 – a 15% increase on 2013.

These revenues, which are paid via licence fees, are generated from:

  • Licensed Betting Office (LBO) payments to Turf TV (betting shop service provider)
  • Racing UK (multi-platform subscription channel)
  • Internet (Bet2View streams)
  • GBI Racing (international TV betting and pictures service)
  • Terrestrial TV (Channel 4 agreement)
  • International (non-betting TV sales overseas)
  • Racecourse Data Company (licensing of Pre-Race Data)

Simon Ellen, RMG Chairman, said: “I’m delighted to report that RMG has continued to make progress on many fronts in 2014. Total media payments to the Group’s 34 racecourses grew to £74.4m, compared to £65m in 2013. RMG delivered total licence fees of £24.6m, 24% up on 2013’s figure of £19.9m. This uplift was generated chiefly by excellent growth in streaming volumes especially on mobile devices; the addition of Ascot to the RMG family, an increase in Racing UK revenues, which saw the subscriber base grow to 49,100; and, despite some underperformance in the early part of the year, a solid contribution from our international service, GBI Racing.

“Turf TV, which owns the LBO rights of the 34 racecourses until 2018, delivered licence fees of £49.8m, a 10% increase on 2013’s figure of £45.1m. The number was slightly affected by a decline in the number of LBO outlets, but the content has expanded with racing from the east coast of the US and Belgium proving popular in the shops.

“We will continue to invest in new technology to improve the quality of our broadcast product and to generate efficiencies as they become available. We will also further develop productive and transparent relationships with our industry stakeholders as we aim to unlock the value that lies within our sport and improve the racing product for all of our partners. We are grateful to all our partners, clients, customers and staff for their continuing support of our businesses, and, it is worth emphasising that RMG distributes 100% of its profits back into racing.”

Richard FitzGerald, RMG CEO, added: “2014 was another productive year for RMG and it continued the upward movement in both revenues and racecourse licence fees. The 10th Year anniversary was an enjoyable theme for the year and we did manage to reach out to a number of the wider family and most importantly the original founding group. We were delighted to welcome Ascot to the RMG fold. The racecourse’s tremendous racing and global reputation is a natural fit alongside the quality output from our other 33 racecourses.

“Significant investment will be required over the coming years to ensure racing continues to keep up with technological advances in broadcasting and we believe there is a big opportunity here to enhance production and coverage on racecourses. We look forward to growing the RMG success story in 2015 and beyond.”

The revelation that betting shops alone have contributed £50m for media rights via Turf TV, and assuming another £50m for the other half of the racecourse industry via SIS, should lead to a greater discussion as to the future of the Levy Scheme which currently funds the sport and its suggested replacement of a Racing Right.

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