Updated with video and download of full report:
Horse Racing Ireland has published the most comprehensive review of any sport in Ireland, conducted by Deloitte and which reveals an industry across Racing and Breeding that is worth €1.84 billion and supports almost 30,000 jobs across the country.
The report is being launched this morning in Dublin by Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, Michael Creed TD. It highlights the scale and success of the sector in Ireland but also the breadth of an industry that is prominent across the island, with breeders and trainers located in virtually every county.
The €1.84bn total direct and stimulated expenditure of Irish breeding and racing is comprised of €914m core industry expenditure with a secondary expenditure of €927m as the initial expenditure filters through the economy.
Breeding and Racing play a vital role in the rural economy, providing significant employment both directly in the 9,500 full-time jobs in the core industry and in a further 5,700 directly-related roles including those in equine science and veterinary, farriers and horse transport.
When off-course betting and secondary employment are included the total number of jobs supported comes to 28,900 jobs.
The sport also generates €370 million of exports making one of the largest parts in the agricultural sector.
The popularity of racing as a spectator sport and social outlet is demonstrated by the 1.3 million who attended the 356 fixtures at the 26 racecourses in Ireland in 2016. This places the sport second only to the GAA championship in terms of sporting attendances. In excess of 7,000 Irish people have an involvement in horse ownership and 25% of the Republic of Ireland’s adult population say they have an interest in racing.
In excess of 7,000 Irish people have an involvement in horse ownership and 25% of the Republic of Ireland’s adult population say they have an interest in racing.
“Our research identifies that Breeding and Racing activities in Ireland are the most prominent and important of any country in the world on a per capita basis, having 50 thoroughbred horses per 10,000 people,” said Deloitte Director Alan Switzer.
“This is many multiples more than most racing nations and ten times that of Britain.”
“Ireland was second only to the USA as the biggest seller of bloodstock at public auctions in 2016 by value.”
“More than 20 per cent of the top 100 Flat horses in the world were Irish bred. Ireland also boasts many of the world’s leading breeders, trainers and jockeys.”
The industry’s international standing is further highlighted by the investment of many of the world’s largest thoroughbred breeders and owners (2,300 horses in training being owned by international owners), providing significant direct investment to the island.
Despite the recession of the past decade, the report estimates that more than €330m has also been invested in Breeding and Racing facilities and infrastructure, nearly €100m of this from racecourses, with substantial future investment in progress including most notably at the Curragh Racecourse which this weekend hosts half of the Longines Irish Champions Weekend.
Major festivals are the key drivers of racecourse attendance and direct economic impact, the seven largest forming 39% of total attendance in 2016.
Off-course expenditure – such as in local bars, restaurants and hotels, often by international visitors – at these festivals also provides substantial economic impact.
Horse Racing Ireland are one of the more than 220 organisations that play an active part of the Sport for Business community.