Racecourse Media Group (RMG) will pay racecourses £117.6 million in payments generated from their media and data rights in 2022 – compared to £110m in 2021.
The payments are derived from a range of RMG businesses, including via betting shops (Racecourse Retail Business), online bookmaker streams (Digital Streaming), pay TV channel (Racing TV), international betting (Racing TV International) and non-betting distribution, mainstream TV (ITV agreement) and data (Racecourse Data Company).
Roger Lewis, the Chairman of RMG, said: “The RMG model has once again proved to be resilient and reliable – in the face of significant challenges – producing record results, and performing ahead of expectations. The results are a testimony and tribute to the vision and dedication of those racecourses who came together and stuck together to create, grow, and develop the RMG business.
“On behalf of everyone at RMG I thank all the racecourses, owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, stable staff and our valued media, technical broadcast, commercial and betting partners for their help and support in enabling RMG to play its role effectively.
“I step down from the Board of RMG this year, having joined the company in 2012. It has been a huge privilege and a great honour to have worked with so many wonderful people. I sincerely welcome my successor, Conor Grant, formerly CEO of Flutter UK and Ireland, who takes up the reins as Chairman, on October 1, 2023.”
The 2022 results were achieved against the headwind of the long-running Gambling Act Review process. RMG has played its role by using its media platforms to bring attention to the Gambling Act Review and ensuring its consumers’ views and attitudes on the subject were made available to politicians, regulators, and media commentators.
The process has led to bookmakers ramping up levels of affordability checking, which has resulted in a clear and material reduction in betting turnover from the early summer of 2022 onwards.
Looking to the future, Martin Stevenson, Chief Executive of RMG, said: “We believe that innovation is key for the business and racecourses to help grow appeal and engagement with the sport, and provide a platform to deliver growth in licence fees to racecourses and the sport in the future.
“A fundamental building block in technical innovation for the business is the deployment of a highly reliable and accurate tracking system, which we have achieved via the award-winning Coursetrack.
“Beyond purely providing timing, the importance of tracking is that it provides a wealth of real time data that the business can now utilise to develop new products and innovations. These include the roll-out of in-play betting on RMG’s content, currently deployed by BetVictor and William Hill, and with more bookmakers in the pipeline.
“Another key application of tracking data is to help create stimulating, insightful data – a suite of new facts and statistics – to engage our audiences and support betting markets.
“In addition, our Self Service Betting Terminal (SSBT) racing product is being rolled out this month. It’s worth noting that c.80% of football bets struck in shops are placed via SSBTs, compared to just 10% for racing, so this could be a real opportunity for racing to generate additional consumer engagement and turnover in the important betting shop space.
“We have also significantly enhanced our broadcast output, with advances to the virtual studio, the roll-out of augmented reality graphics, the gradual move to remote production, and developments to the production of dedicated racecourse streams. This is bringing horseracing TV coverage up to the high levels that other sports, like football and cricket, enjoy.
“Our social media initiative, #raceday, which brings an influencer-led approach to the racecourse and engages with a young demographic, has surpassed 20m views, while our free-to-play games, run in conjunction with Paddy Power, have generated 2m entries and proved to be an excellent data capture platform.
“With media increasingly being consumed through digital channels, driving innovation is key to growing audiences and engagement through these platforms. This approach blends well with our focus on strengthening the core capabilities which have enabled us to grow to where we are today, ensuring the business remains ready for the future.”
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