Greyhound racing is set to return on June 1st
Greyhound racing is set to return on June 1st but is it too late for some tracks? Peterborough announced yesterday that they were to cease trading citing the lack of footfall during the coronavirus lockdown and that they believed with social distancing that would affect their long term viability.
Their business model was not built upon a media rights contract as most other tracks in the UK are. Most greyhound venues fall into two camps on one side TRP/ARC and on the other SIS Both organisations have signed up their respective tracks on lucrative long term deals which has enabled prize money to be increased and payments to trainers escalate.
The problem with these deals though is that they are dependent on the off course bookmakers buying the race product primarily for their betting shop estates. Their contracts with both providers require that each betting shop pays for their greyhound racing feed on a monthly basis but of course only if they are open to take it.
The current coronavirus lockdown in the U.K. has shut all UK betting shops and they are not due to open until July and even then William Hill have said they will reopen in a staggered way so perhaps we won’t have all shops open until October and what happens to turnover when social distancing requirements will still need to be adhered to?
The reality is that the major bookmaking firms will not want to pay for the greyhound product at the level they were before lockdown. Online business for the tracks generate a much lower revenue stream and quite simply not enough to pay for their overheads of prize money trainer retainers and greyhound appearance money.
There is no business model that can be created to cover the ongoing cost of a high profile greyhound track given the lack of income that will be derived from selling their product. Peterborough were the first track to close their doors yesterday but they certainly won’t be the last.
In answer to the question is the return of greyhound racing too late for some tracks I think the assumption must be yes. The bookmaker owned tracks might survive albeit running at a loss to protect their greyhound turnover when shops eventually do reopen but the independent tracks will have an extremely hard time surviving. for full greyhound news you can visit the racing post
The Coronavirus pandemic has hit every single business in the U.K. in some way or another but I suspect greyhound racing might be the first industry to succumb to the financial implications lockdown has produced.
What are your thoughts on the current situation? Greyhound racing is set to return on June 1st but will greyhound racing survive in UK or could this be the end? comment below.
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