Irish horse breeding and racing put €914m into economy in 2016

By Business & Finance
07 September 2017
horse racing ireland

Horse Racing Ireland launch Economic Impact Study into the Irish horse breeding and racing industry

A new report, commissioned by Horse Racing Ireland reflects “a vibrant industry that, as well as sparking significant economic activity in Ireland, also brings with it much needed foreign direct investment,” says Joe Keeling, Chairman of Horse Racing Ireland.

Economy and employment

According to the report, compiled by Deloitte, the total direct and stimulated expenditure of the Irish Breeding and Racing industry in 2016 is estimated at €1.84 billion, driven by a core gross expenditure  if €1.05 billion, resulting in economic input of €914m into the Irish economy.

Total employment from the core Irish Breeding and Racing industry, off-course betting and arising from secondary expenditure resulted in c.28,900 FTEs. The core Breeding and Racing industry is estimated to employ c.9,500 workers, while other equine focussed jobs include veterinary, farriery, transport, feed manufacturers etc.

Breeding winners

In 2016 Ireland produced 9,381 live foals; while on a per capita basis this is greater than any other country in the world, in real terms Ireland is the third biggest thoroughbred breeding nation in the world. There are over 50 thoroughbred horses per 10,000 people in Ireland.

Alan Switzer, Director of the Deloitte Sports Business Group, noted that their research identified Breeding and Racing activities in Ireland as the “most prominent and important of any country on a per capita basis”. Ireland came out as the second biggest seller at bloodstock public auctions in 2016, with €338m of horses sold by Irish vendors, behind only the USA. Of the major thoroughbred auctions taking place in Ireland, Great Britain and France, Irish vendors comprise €338m (45%) of the total €751m sales in 2016, and total bloodstock sales are estimated to rise to c.€438m when a conservative estimate of €100m annual private sales is added.

Over 20% of the top rated Flat horses in 2016 were Irish bred, and circa 13% of those winning major global races were Irish-trained. In the 2016 racing season, Irish-trained racehorses won €79m in prize money globally, including a total of 29 Group 1 races (Flat) and 47 Grade 1 races (Jump).

Following the recession the international foal market bottomed out in 2010 and 2011 before showing signs of recovery in 2014, and marked growth throughout 2015 and 2016, with an increase of c.1,400 (17%) thoroughbred foals born from 2014 to 2016.

In terms of domestic popularity, over 1.3m people attended the 356 fixtures staged at Ireland’s 26 racecourses last year, second only to the GAA in terms of attendance.

Recognising the contribution

Recognising the contribution that the Irish Racing industry has made to the economy here, and on a global scale to ‘Brand Ireland’, renowned multi-champion trainer Aidan O’Brien is among the honourees at this year’s Business & Finance Irish Business Awards in association with KPMG. Mr O’Brien is to receive an award for Outstanding Contribution to Brand Ireland.

The other major awards on the night will be the TK Whitaker Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life, to be presented to former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, and the Outstanding Achievement in Business Award, to be presented to Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO of Bank of America.

The 43rd Annual Business & Finance Irish Business Awards in association with KPMG will take place on Thursday, December 14th at The Convention Centre Dublin. To contact a member of the team about booking tickets, click here


Business & Finance Awards 2017