BHB says new plan may bring in £140m

The British Horseracing Board yesterday published details of the funding plan it hopes will increase the industry's income by £50 million a year. Subject to the approval of racing's many special interest groups - most notably the racecourses themselves - the plan comes into effect on 1 May 2002, and will generate, according to Peter Savill, the chairman of the BHB, "income streams of no less than £140 million compared to a current level of less than £88 million."

The British Horseracing Board yesterday published details of the funding plan it hopes will increase the industry's income by £50 million a year. Subject to the approval of racing's many special interest groups - most notably the racecourses themselves - the plan comes into effect on 1 May 2002, and will generate, according to Peter Savill, the chairman of the BHB, "income streams of no less than £140 million compared to a current level of less than £88 million."

The new plan is designed to replace the Levy system, which has provided money for racing from betting turnover for over 40 years, and will, Savill said at yesterday's launch, "put the racing industry back in control of its own destiny". Its key feature is a 10-year agreement between the BHB and the Racecourse Association (RCA) to pool British racing's media rights into a single package for sale both to bookmakers and broadcasters, whether they be on terrestrial television, interactive television or the internet.

If the plan unfolds as Savill envisages, racehorse owners can expect to benefit from significant increases in prize money. However, the full implementation of the plan is out of Savill's hands, since it depends on the agreement of the owners of Britain's 59 racecourses, who hold the media rights concerned. Some may feel the slice of the pie being taken by the BHB - 20 per cent of any income above that which is currently provided by the Levy system - is too high.

Britain's bookmakers will also have something to say about the plan's implications, although Savill said yesterday the projected £50 million increase in income will be achieved "without any increase in costs to the betting industry." That does not, of course, rule out any increase in the future, and the details of the pricing structure by which they will pay for access to live coverage of British racing has yet to be finalised.

"The pricing structure will be developed over the course of the next few months," Savill said. "We will take into consideration precedents and benchmarks relative to the racing industries around the world to decide what this will be."

One element which it will include, however, is access to pre-race data, and in due course live action pictures, on internet betting sites. "This will give us the opportunity to capture something which we cannot currently capture," Savill said, "which is a proportion of offshore betting turnover." Clearly, he sees it as an anomaly that Ladbrokes in the UK pays a percentage of turnover to the Levy, while its internet arm in Gibraltar does not. One man's anomaly, though, can be another's competitive advantage, and again, there will be plenty of haggling before any agreement can be reached.

Before the industry can sit down with the bookies, the plan will need to be ratified by the tracks, at a meeting of the RCA on 21 November. As the RCA's Angus Crichton-Miller admitted, "we cannot force racecourses to sign up." However, he expressed confidence approval would be forthcoming.

Should this approval be forthcoming, Savill said, it "would turn around the situation whereby the pricing of our product was under the control the betting industry. It will change it around to the normal commercial mechanism of the seller being in control of pricing, while also being careful not to fall foul of OFT and EU legislation on monoplies. Our pricing structure must be fair."

The BHB's timetable predicts that discussions with bookmakers will take place between January and April 2001, and, given the sums involved, the negotiations will be both sensitive and ruthless. Both sides are well aware, however, that there is now a global market for betting, and one which likes to bet on British sport because it is seen to be straight, and with British-based bookmakers for much the same reason. If both sides have the vision to exploit the situation, there could be a lucrative future for all concerned.

* Aidan O'Brien was among 2,000 Irish racing professionals who joined in a demonstration at the Curragh yesterday to call on the Turf Club to "respond positively" to the government's funding proposals to secure the future of the sport.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower