Yarmouth racecourse aims to build on a season of success

Glenn Tubby

Glenn Tubby - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth racecourse, the second best performing for increased attendances last year out of the 60 tracks operating in the UK, has announced new plans to build on that success for 2013.

Only Musselburgh in Scotland had a bigger percentage crowd increase from the previous season than the Norfolk course.

Great Yarmouth’s crowds for its 25-meeting 2012 season totalled 61,609, an average of 2,464 per meeting. In 2011 attendances totalled 57,765, meaning an increase of 6.65 per cent.

“I am delighted to see Great Yarmouth has achieved the second highest percentage crowd increase in 2012. This is particularly satisfying considering the wet summer of last year and clashes with the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the European Football Championships and the London Olympic Games.

“This gives cause for great optimism and we look forward to building on that throughout 2013,” said Great Yarmouth racecourse general manager, Glenn Tubby.

One way the venue is hoping to build on its 2012 success during the coming season is by offering free entry to all accompanied under 18-year-olds throughout 2013, with car parking, charged at £2 per car last season, also becoming free.

“Free entry used to be for under 16s but we wanted to make our fantastic events and races more accessible to cash-conscious families this year so we have extended the age limit. A day at the races has always been a great value family day out and this has been reinforced as we are now offering free car parking and free admission to accompanied under 18s,” added Glenn.

Most Read

“Adults currently pay £11 per ticket online so a family of two adults and two under 18s could save £22 under this new scheme. When compared with family trips to the cinema and local attractions, we really do offer a competitive option,” he continued.

Musselburgh, like Great Yarmouth, had 25 meetings in 2012 and saw crowds rise from 58,796 to 65,811 (plus 11.9 per cent) to top the charts. Only seven other courses recorded increases. They were Cheltenham, Newmarket, Lingfield Park, Stratford, Newbury, Catterick and Doncaster.

Announcing the figures last week, Racecourse Association (RCA) chief executive Stephen Atkin commended courses for their efforts to promote the sport despite stiff competition from the London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.

The poor weather throughout the summer did not help and took its toll on overall attendance figures, down from 6.1 million in 2011 to 5.58 million last year. The majority of that fall was due to abandoned meetings, with 129 being lost to the weather, the Met Office confirming 2012 as the second wettest summer on record. Only 21 meetings were lost in 2011.

Terrestrial television viewing figures were healthy with the BBC attracting an aggregated audience of 22.2 million, up 1.6 million on 2011 and Channel 4’s figures showing 34 million for 2012, up by 2.8 million on 2011.

Audience highlights were Investec Derby Day which launched the weekend of Diamond Jubilee celebrations and welcomed the biggest single day crowd in British sport in 2012, with more than 130,000 people on Epsom Downs.

Great Yarmouth racecourse is part of ARC, which operates 15 racecourses across the UK. The 2013 season on the east coast, which sees 25 meetings, the same number as last year, starts on Easter Monday, April 1.

For a full fixture list, and details of ticket packages and prices, visit www.greatyarmouth-racecourse.co.uk.