Racecourses will receive payments from the Racecourse Media Group (RMG) that are on par with pre-covid levels, the company revealed on Thursday. A total of £110 million, earned through racecourses' media and data rights, is projected to be paid to RMG shareholders for 2021. RMG is 100% owned by its racecourse shareholders and pays 100% of operating profit back to racecourses.
Chairman Roger Lewis, who will step down at the end of the year, said, “I thank and congratulate everyone involved in racing for their herculean efforts in 2021. The RMG racecourses ensured that horseracing continued for a second year in the most demanding of circumstances, which allowed RMG to deliver as great a return as possible for racing. The RMG model was again tested in 2021 and again proved to be resilient and reliable.
“The investment in, and development of, our media assets and new innovative products–such as the Watch & Bet service, ultra-low latency, on-screen timing data, the exploration of in-play opportunities, and enhancements on Racing TV, headlined by the stunning Virtual Studio–aided our recovery.
“These initiatives all contribute to the RMG strategy of attracting more eyes on to our racing which, in turn, drives betting turnover, subscriptions, and sponsorship opportunities in the sport. And this all feeds into the RMG vision of increasing returns to our racecourses for the benefit of the industry.
“The 2021 performance will mean that RMG will have delivered £1bn to racecourses since the start of the business in 2004. This is a testament to our racecourses' dedication and commitment to working together for the greater good of racing.”
A Boardmember of RMG since 2012, Lewis was appointed to the role of Non-Executive Chairman on Jan. 1, 2019. Lewis continues as Chair of the Churchill Lines Foundation, a military charity, a Director of Festival UK 2022 and President of the National Museums of Wales. He also sits on The Platinum Jubilee Civic Honours Panel. RMG is currently searching for his successor.
He added, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my decade at RMG and have been humbled by the boundless enthusiasm and support that we receive from our shareholder racecourses.
“I am particularly pleased RMG was able to announce last July that our British racecourses agreed a media rights renewal extension until Dec. 31, 2028.
“This was a pivotal moment for British racing. The RMG racecourses have created business clarity and confidence for years to come. The certainty which this landmark, long-term agreement provides is very special for everyone involved in British racing.
“I pay particular tribute to the outstanding leadership of the RMG CEO, Martin Stevenson, who together with his great team of RMG executives navigated this complex and detailed process with rigour, patience and clear focus and who continue to lead the business with dynamism.
“I have been very fortunate to have worked alongside an outstanding Board of Directors and I sincerely thank them for their friendship, help and support and their incredible insight into the business.”
Martin Stevenson, CEO of RMG, paid tribute to Lewis, and said, “I would like to pay tribute to Roger, who during his tenure as first Board member and then Chairman, has been instrumental in the development and success of RMG and its businesses over the last decade.
“In particular, Roger has helped steer RMG through the pandemic, and all the huge challenges it presented, to the point where the business is now producing results, which were on a par with pre-covid payments to racecourses. That is a terrific outcome.
“I thank Roger for his leadership and friendship and for all that he has done for horseracing. We wish him all the best for the future once his tenure comes to its conclusion at the end of the year.”