Following a meeting of its Board, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has confirmed changes to the Fixture List for 2020, with afternoon racing to be underway by no later than 2pm in order to ensure the needs of the betting public are met.
The group also underlined that betting shop closures are likely to lead to a reduction of media rights income, therefore maintaining (or even growing) fixture numbers in 2020 could help support racecourse income and potentially prize money.
Nonetheless, as part of a host of alterations which seek to put the wellbeing of its members first, the agreement which has been reached for 2020, will see a reduction in the overall number of races, with it adding an extra break day during the Christmas period, as well as an extra three break days during August.
Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer for the BHA, stated: “We are grateful for the efforts of all those involved in continuing to develop the Fixture List so that it best serves the longer-term interests of the sport and it is pleasing that a number of new initiatives have been agreed for next year.
“Discussions around fixture volume are often challenging, particularly so when prize money levels are under pressure. In reaching its decision, the Board sought to balance income considerations with the longer-term outlook for the sport, its customers and all those employed in racing.
“It is particularly significant that all parties are committed to supporting the detailed economic modelling that will take place in order that decisions can be made in future years based on more detailed and independent data.
“This is a very positive development that has the potential to support more significant changes to the structure of the Fixture List in the future. Our aim is to benefit all the parties directly involved and also help to ensure a growing and vibrant sport that meets the changing demands of its various customers.”