Why horse racing beats football, rugby and other sports

Fontwell offers great value for money - along with racing generally  Picture by Allan Hutchings
Fontwell offers great value for money - along with racing generally Picture by Allan Hutchings

Horse racing is Britain’s best value day out for sports fans, according to a new report published by the Racecourse Association.

Research conducted by Deloitte shows racing consistently costs less than other major sports, such as Twenty20 cricket, Football League games, a round of golf, domestic rugby and Premier League football - and other competing leisure activities.

It’s good news for courses like Goodwood and Fontwell, who have done much in recent times to keep ticket prices down and encourage families to go racing at affordable rates.

A sports fan can enjoy a midweek race meeting for as little as £4, or a Saturday high-profile fixture for just £13. In contrast, the lowest priced adult matchday ticket for a Premier League game was £33 and could cost as much as £64.

Even racing’s premier events, including the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National meeting and The Derby, are less expensive to attend than Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix or an England Test match.

General admission at Cheltenham or Aintree for a single attendee will set them back £22. For a Test match, the cheapest entry point is £35, Wimbledon £37, a Champions League final £60 and the British Grand Prix £145.

Racing is equally competitive as a day out for a family of four, thanks to British racecourses offering free entry to under-16s at almost all fixtures. The only family leisure activity that could give racing a run for its money is a trip to the cinema.

Cash-strapped parents can enjoy a day’s racing with their two kids, including parking and a snack, for under £40, whilst a similar day at the zoo will set them back £66, or £112 at a theme park. A trip to the British Grand Prix would cost them £435 or more.

The Deloitte study also analysed the cost of a corporate hospitality box for ten at sporting venues - an increasingly popular way to do business. The lowest priced packages, at under £1,000, are midweek race meetings and Football League games.

Also at the lower end of the price range are weekend racing fixtures and Twenty20 cricket, both achievable for under £1,500. Hospitality at a domestic rugby game will cost a business in excess of £2,100, with a Premier League game topping the chart at more than £3,300.

RCA chief executive Stephen Atkin said: “We’re delighted with these findings which confirm that racing provides a great day out. There is a perception in the sport that going racing is expensive which this report disproves.

“British racecourses offer a fantastic range of options for fans to take advantage of, whether you are taking the kids for a day out or looking to entertain clients there is definitely great value in going racing.”

Alan Switzer, director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “It’s no surprise that racing is Britain’s second biggest spectator sport when it offers such excellent value for money. What the report also shows is the enduring popularity of some of our most iconic sporting occasions, despite the expensive cost of entry. Nothing beats being there.”

The next chance for local racing fans to take advantage of a good value day out at a track is - weather permitting - this Thursday at Fontwell. see thiswebsite for updates on the fixture.