Racing Victoria (RV) has today released its results for the 2020-21 financial year (FY21) ending 30 June 2021 which shows the industry has weathered the COVID pandemic and has continued to invest in the future of the sport.
Through prudent management and the incredible efforts of all industry stakeholders to ensure the safe continuation of racing under strict biosecurity protocols, RV has reported a net operating surplus of $28.7 million. This positive result comes following the payment of record prizemoney, additional club funding and increased investment in equine welfare.
With the first two months of the 2021 Spring Racing Carnival conducted without crowds and only limited numbers predicted in November, the FY21 surplus is being utilised to support Racing Clubs across the state who are missing key direct revenue streams for a second year.
In detailing the FY21 results, RV announced today that it has already paid $15 million of the surplus in further special COVID grants to be shared among all Clubs in recognition of the impacts that little to no crowds during the peak racing period will have on their bottom line.
The commitment brings to $64 million the additional funding support paid or committed by RV, over and above usual Club funding, to all Victorian Racing Clubs since the commencement of the pandemic through special COVID grants and contributions to feature race prizemoney in lieu of traditional Club top-ups. This support will enable Clubs to bounce back strongly as they prepare for the return of crowds on track.
In addition, RV has also acquired or committed to acquire the Clubs’ ownership shares in various media assets, including Racing.com, Thoroughbred Racing Productions (TRP), and radio station RSN927, providing a further cash boost for Clubs. This will assist in positioning the industry to continue building engagement levels and wagering beyond the pandemic.
2020-21 FINANCIAL YEAR OVERVIEW
- Victorian racing navigated the pandemic to deliver an uninterrupted racing program
- Strict biosecurity protocols allowed for the safe continuation of racing and training
- Continuity of racing enabled industry to support stakeholders, protect jobs, ensure ongoing equine welfare and participant sustainability
- Strong advocacy ensured great support from the Victorian Government continued
- No race meetings were lost or abandoned due to COVID with 4,359 races run
- COVID safe event plans allowed capped spectators for limited meetings only
- Record prizemoney paid to participants to maintain nation-leading offering
- $237.2m in prizemoney paid by RV - up 3.5% on the prior year
- 52.5% increase in total prizemoney paid by RV since FY15
- Total prizemoney and bonuses won (including Club top ups) of $251.7 million
- Nation high average of over $60,000 in prizemoney and bonuses on offer per race
- Record offering committed for FY22 with $19 million boost announced
- Critical COVID funding support for Racing Clubs continued
- RV’s Club funding up 23.4% to a record $112.6 million
- Underlying Club funding (excluding COVID support) lifted by 102.4% since FY15
- Funding support helped maintain racing and training during the pandemic
- COVID funding support of $37 million in FY21 being $30 million in special grants and $7 million in backfilling Club prizemoney top-ups
- Further funding support of $15 million already paid in FY22 in recognition of the prohibition of crowds for the majority of the Spring Racing Carnival
- Record turnover and wagering revenue, despite COVID impacts on VicTAB Joint Venture
- Total turnover on Victorian racing grew by 22.6% to a record $8.7 billion
- Turnover benefitted from ongoing lockdowns, limited competing entertainment, and RV’s investment in expanded media coverage
- Wagering revenue grew by a lower rate of 10.1% to $391.4 million
- Distributions from the VicTAB Joint Venture declined 2.7% due to ongoing retail and on course closures and the market shift to digital only operators
- RV retains healthy financial position from which to support industry sustainability
- Total FY21 revenue up 14.5% to $547.1 million off the back of record turnover
- Total expenditure was up 11.1% due largely to additional Club support and further investment in media services. However, discretionary expenditure was well managed, which saw operational expenditure decline by 3.2%
- Net asset position grew to $183.3 million – up 18.8%
- Industry Sustainability Fund (net cash after cash claims) sitting at $81.3 million
- Establishment of Victorian Thoroughbred Racing Integrated Media Business (VTRIMB)
- VTRIMB brings together industry media assets and partnerships under single ownership and management for the first time
- Focus on driving additional fan engagement and wagering through increasing breadth of distribution and delivering efficiencies through combination
- RV acquired key industry media assets previously held by Racing Clubs – Racing.com, TRP and RSN927 (pending) – adding to RV’s existing publications assets, media rights partnerships and supply chain arrangements
- Investments in equine welfare, integrity and infrastructure provide a strong foundation
- Year-on-year equine welfare spend grew 86.2% with an expanded taskforce delivering new post racing programs and enhanced visibility of retired racehorses
- Investment in three-year equine welfare strategic plan reached $10 million for the 18-month period from January 2020
- Infrastructure investment increased by $4.6m (29.5%) with the restoration of projects postponed in 2020 due to COVID and the acceleration of Caulfield training relocation works
- Enhanced investments in integrity and technology to further capabilities
Quotes attributable to RV Chairman, Brian Kruger
“In delivering these results I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of everyone in our industry to ensure that racing has been able to safely continue in the face of an unprecedented challenge and for that we offer our immense thanks on a job well done.
“Whilst opportunities to be trackside have been few and far between, the incredible ongoing support of our racehorse owners and the increased engagement by punters is something that has been pivotal to our results and ongoing viability. To both groups, I say thank you for your support and investment in Victorian racing.
“Our focus throughout the pandemic has been on the safety and wellbeing of our participants and the broader community as well as maintaining 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs and ensuring daily care and exercise can be afforded to all thoroughbred racehorses.
“In keeping racing going we’ve been able to achieve that and generate a surplus that allows us to support those stakeholders who have suffered most and to provide a strong platform to continue to grow our sport over coming years.
“Our Clubs have been the ones to bear the brunt of the adverse impact of COVID given their inability to host crowds for much of the pandemic. Fortunately, we have been able to help mitigate that impact by not only providing record levels of underlying Club funding, but also special payments that now total $64 million over the last 18 months.
“On top of record prizemoney and Club funding, FY21 also saw an increased investment in two key areas central to our future. The first being our commitment to an accelerated and expanded equine welfare plan that is delivering new programs and initiatives that are making a real difference for current and past equine athletes.
“Secondly, our focus on further growth in engagement and wagering has been underpinned with the development of our Integrated Media Business which is consolidating the industry’s media assets to reach broader audiences and provide our fans with the best possible coverage of Victorian racing.
“Whilst limited competition owing to lockdowns and the unprecedented marketing and generosities of wagering operators has delivered record turnover and engagement, Australia’s emergence from COVID restrictions means that we will need to continue to invest and innovate to maintain the momentum we have seen in the last few years.”
To view the RV FY21 Results Presentation, click here