Friday, 25 March 2011

What is Your View on Prize Money?

 With Richard Hannon suggesting to his owners not to race at courses with poor prize money (following in the footsteps of Sheikh Mohammed) how will such a potential boycott affect racing? What are your thoughts on prize money? Have your say!


Neil said...

This is an interesting one.

As you probably know, internet gambling is illegal in the US (stick with me - this is relevant).

Certain states have started the process to have their own bill to legalise it (but none have been passed yet). In the state of New Jersey, a bill was put forward and was due to go through, but vetoed at the last minute by governor Chris Christie because the bill stated that proceeds would go into funding horse racing. Christie's argument was that his state was committed to making horse racing self-sufficient rather than being reliant on a tax levy for income, hence the bill was dropped (this wasn't the only reason).

You see where this is going now - horse racing can only continue if it is sustainably funded and bookmakers here are complaining about the levy as it is. Hannon is right - the owners are not going to want to win back what is effectively their own prize money, but is boycotting races the right way of protesting? Probably yes - it's the most public way of bringing it to light.

Where do other sports get their money from? Mostly sponsorship, tickets and merchandising I guess. Could sponsorship in racing increase? Could the racecourses do more to attract bigger brands when naming races for example? There's probably enough advertising on-course, but could they charge the bookmakers more to advertise on the grounds that levy would decrease? Ticket prices are going to have to go down not up to attract more punters but that could increase sales. That leaves merchandising. In football you follow a team. Would you buy a Mick Channon t-shirt? Probably not. What about anything that had "Stud" in the name? Again, probably not for the wider public so this clearly needs more thought.

So what's the solution? Of course I don't know, but it's interesting that it can have a knock on effect to other areas of the economy, at least in the US. It would certainly be interesting to know what actual measures Governor Christie is taking to make racing self-sufficient in NJ and if it's actually working. Could we learn something from them?


HCE said...

Great comment, Neil. Clearly something needs to be done. When you consider how much money relates to each race (bookmakers, exchanges, ticket sales etc) it must amount to millions. There must easily be enough money to give 5,000 to the winner of every race without question. The only reason this hasn't happened is because all those making money from this situation turn a blind eye. Why would they want it to be any different? The wheels are still turning - so there isn't a problem, for them. If trainers make a stand, the level of prize money would increase overnight. It is simply preying on the owners willingness to settle for such lowly levels. It is disappointing when there must be plenty of money available. It is like someone running a business but everyone else earns the money while the company is on the brink of collaspe. Without the races, there would be no revenue. Those who simply take need to appreciate the worth of each race.