A new report by Deloitte, leading advisors to the sports business market, carried out for Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), shows sustained growth across multiple measures in Ireland’s thoroughbred racing sector.
Huge economic benefit
The sector, including breeding, training, racing, and ancillary activities, delivered €2.46bn to the economy in direct and stimulated expenditure in 2022, up 34% from 2016, and supports a total of 30,350 jobs, an increase of 1,450 in that same period.With the breeding sector generating revenues of €819m, €264m spent by owners in training and running their horses, and €193m through racegoer spending both on and off course, the sector is providing economic stimulus across the country. Testament to Ireland’s outstanding reputation as a location for breeding and racing is the country’s 2022 position as the second largest territory by value for global public bloodstock sales. With €538m in sales achieved last year, Ireland is second only to the USA.
Over 500,000 attend racing festivals
The attraction of horse racing is evidenced by attendances at racecourses around the country. Looking at festival attendance in isolation, the top attended festivals in 2022 attracted a combined attendance figure of over half a million people.The number of owners and horses in training also shows significant resilience. In 2022 there were 4,757 active owner accounts in Ireland, a significant increase from the 2016 figure of 3,663. Deloitte research shows that the active owner accounts in 2022 represented 13,592 individuals and 10,208 horses that were registered in training during the year.
Large capital investment
In the six years to the end of 2022 it is estimated that capital expenditure in the breeding and racing industry hit €265m. The money was invested in both facilities and infrastructure to maintain Irish racing’s position as a premier breeding and racing territory. As well as supporting local businesses, this investment protects the industry’s global status.Looking specifically at racecourse capital investments, almost €110m was invested over the period 2017 to 2022 with €57m in funding provided by HRI. This included projects in Galway, Punchestown, Naas, Leopardstown, and Roscommon, with a total of 20 racecourses receiving grant aid from HRI. The sector also generates income from overseas. Of the estimated €125m of capital investment by breeders and bloodstock auction houses in the six years to 2022, an estimated 45% came from overseas investors.