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Report highlights £114m hit to Yorkshire economy caused by racing lockout

There were no spectators at York to see the world's highest-rated horse Ghaiyyath dominate his rivals in the Juddmonte International in August
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The financial impact of no crowds on tracks in Yorkshire has been presented in stark terms, with a report detailing how the nine courses in the region have lost over £100 million since March.

The report, commissioned by Go Racing in Yorkshire, estimates the economic value generated by Yorkshire tracks to have fallen by 72 per cent during the crisis, down to £25.4m from £90.8m.

The gloom is further entrenched when taking into account other economic activity such as non-raceday events at courses such as conferences and social gatherings, as well as the loss of money usually spent by racegoers with neighbouring businesses. These additional factors increase the downturn by another £49.4m to £114.8m.

Beverley's popular County Carnival was run in front of empty stands this year

The 2020 coronavirus findings were released alongside a study supported by the Racing Foundation in which Sheffield Hallam University's Ian Wilson investigated the economic impact racing has across Yorkshire. 

The headline figures are of an industry which contributed £300m to the regional economy in 2019, of which £34m was spent with businesses outside of racecourses and another £15m was earned by courses through non-racing activity. 

With no full-year figures available for 2020, Wilson and the research team asked the finance directors for each course to estimate their income and expenditure for the full year. 

They also asked for details of full and part-time employment at the nine racecourses, and report that there has been an 11 per cent loss of core staff in addition to the near total wipeout of casual workers. 

Middleham (pictured) and Malton both maintain thriving training centres and are key contributors to the racing industry in Yorkshire

The full report has been published ten years after a similar impact assessment was first conducted by Sheffield Hallam, and Go Racing In Yorkshire chairman John Sexton said that it underlined the vital role the sport plays in the economic life of Yorkshire.

"The study was commissioned before the Covid-19 pandemic struck and the effects are being felt in Yorkshire as much as any other part of the world," said Sexton. "This timely piece of research reinforces how vital horseracing is to the Yorkshire and rural economy plus the social and community aspect of the industry.

"Early assessments show that Covid-19 could reduce the impact of racing on the Yorkshire economy at a cost of £114.8m, underlining that the sooner we can get back to normality the better."

Read more here

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Early assessments show that Covid-19 could reduce the impact of racing on the Yorkshire economy at a cost of £114.8m
E.W. Terms