2024 Fixture list announcement
Please see below an email from the British Horseracing Authority, ahead of the publication of the 2024 fixture list, which is scheduled for public release at 12.30pm tomorrow, Tuesday 10 October.
As you are aware, last October saw a material change to the governance of the BHA which in turn has meant that the process for agreeing the 2024 fixture list changed from that of previous years. The Fixture List process is one part of the wider industry strategy and for the past 12 months the Commercial Committee has focused on this extremely important piece of work. The Commercial Committee is chaired by David Jones, Senior Independent Director of the BHA, and has representatives from both the racecourses and the participants, including myself. The Commercial Committee continues to meet, and we will remain central to the ongoing debates and decisions as the detailed race programmes behind the fixture list are finalised. The BHA board approved the changes to the 2024 fixture list, and we must convey our thanks to the Levy Board for their support in funding these changes.
The 2024 fixture list does see some material changes from previous years as you will note. The Commercial Committee and wider sport will be watching closely the results of these changes over the coming 12 months to understand what further action can be taken to safeguard the future of our sport.
We are writing to you today prior to the publication of the 2024 Fixture List, which is scheduled for tomorrow.
The fixture list has been agreed by and approved by the sport’s Commercial Committee and the BHA Board and is the culmination of the first phase of work being undertaken as part of the industry strategy.
The 2024 fixture list will include some significant changes, which we wanted to explain to you prior to publication.
We are grateful to the industry representatives who sit on the Commercial Committee, including the Racehorse Owners Association, for their work on this project as part of the industry strategy, representing the views of owners throughout this process.
Overall, the changes aim to grow British racing by increasing revenues and thereby prize money for owners. The long-term aim is that this benefits everyone by creating a bigger and better sport, with more money flowing through it, making it a more attractive proposition to own, train and race horses in Britain.
The changes have been introduced on a two-year trial basis with the full support of the industry stakeholders, including the racecourses. The success of this trial will be measured on a range of things, including financial benefit to the sport and the impact on the wellbeing of participants and racing’s workforce.
The changes to the Fixture List represent a first major step in what is a long-term transformational plan for the sport, with owners and ownership forming an integral pillar of the industry strategy.
Industry modelling projects an estimated £90m improvement to British racing’s finances over a five-year period from 2024 to 2028 as a result of the work of the industry strategy, when compared with a ‘do nothing’ scenario, in which industry revenues would continue to decline.
The changes for 2024
A detailed summary of the main changes to the Fixture List can be found here. But in summary, they include:
170 high-value “Premier Racedays” will be staged in 2024.
These racedays are underpinned by criteria around prize money and quality of racing, and acting as the sport’s main shop window.
A Premier Raceday will have minimum prize money values of £250k on the Flat and £200k for NH fixtures at weekends and midweek afternoons; and £225k on the Flat and £180k for NH fixtures staged on Sundays and midweek evenings. They will ensure consistent, high-quality racing which can be differentiated from the rest of the fixture list and better promoted to showcase the sport to new and existing audiences.
The significant appetite shown by racecourses to stage these fixtures has resulted in an uplift of around 50% in the number of fixtures which would meet the “Premier Raceday” criteria, compared to 2022.
Premier Racedays will therefore account for approximately 12% of fixtures, and these top-tier days will have a race programme for horses between Class 1 to Class 5 on the flat, and Class 1 to 4 over jumps.
They will also be supported by significantly enhanced promotion, broadcast innovation and fan engagement, with proposals currently being developed and more details set to be published in the coming months.
Investing more prize money
Including an additional £3.8m of Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) funding for Premier Racedays. This will comprise both significant additional investment, alongside some redistribution of funds from other fixtures. Minimum race values at non-Premier (Core) fixtures will, however, remain unaltered.
All Premier Racedays will include a minimum number of higher-class races, supplemented by other races providing opportunities for a wide range of horses. Higher minimum prize money values will be in place at Premier Racedays with no races run for less than £20,000 (Flat) and £15,000 (Jumps).
This will aim to keep British racing at the forefront of world racing, attracting and retaining the best horses to be owned, trained and race in Britain.
A protected window for Saturday's Premier Racedays
Premier Racedays on Saturdays being given “room to breathe”, with a protected window between 2pm and 4pm, where only a limited number of fixtures can be staged. This will allow us to better promote the sport and tell its stories, with a view to improving betting and media rights revenues.
Major investment in improving Sunday racing
To take better advantage of both days of the sporting weekend, increasing engagement and revenues.
This includes the running of 29 Premier Racedays on Sundays, and a trial of six Sunday evening racedays in the first part of the year. We will also be supporting the sport’s workforce who service these fixtures. The value of a Sunday evening racing fixture will be a minimum of £145k.
Creating more competitive racing
Creating a more competitive and engaging racing product through improved field sizes, reducing the size of the Fixture List and race programme – including the removal of 300 Jump races – and a raft of further initiatives designed to improve competitiveness.
Long-term plan for our sport
As owners you are the lifeblood of our sport. We recognise that more must be done to ensure that owning horses in Britain is both financially more appealing and an enjoyable experience, which rewards the investment you make.
The changes to the Fixture List represent just one part of this work being undertaken by the sport through the industry strategy – work that will continue in the months ahead.