There are few sports that have stood the test of time greater than horse racing, as the first races were run over two centuries ago. Like many other sports, it has dipped in popularity throughout its history, but horse racing appears to be back on the rise again when it comes to the followers that watch the action daily.
Few sports are able to attract a global audience greater than horse racing, with massive race days across the planet appealing to followers in all four corners. But, just how popular is horse racing in this modern day?
The demand for horse racing is as great as ever, with reports between 2017 and 2021 showing that nearly 50,000 race meetings were staged in the United Kingdom. Of course, certain events are more popular than others, meaning that the meetings on the weekend will typically attract higher attendance than those that take place in the middle of the week.
But, the audience numbers continue to show that it is one of the biggest sports to follow throughout the year. It was estimated in 2020 that over 1.45 billion people across the world watched or betting on the sport in that calendar year. Based on the figures, that showed a huge increase from 2019, where 365 million fans watched or betted on the sport.
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New Demographic Enticed
Horse racing has commonly been a sport that has largely been followed by an older demographic, but there have been signs in recent years that this is beginning to change. Those involved in the sport will be aware that racing needs to evolve and entice new and younger customers to the game, which has been done with great success based on the figures above.
One of the best additions to welcome new fans to the track is the promotion offered by many tracks around the world, which enables students to enter at a discounted price. Racing has become a very popular alternative for a day or night out within the student community, and having fresh eyes on the product will only enhance the followers that watch the sport religiously every day.
While some fans enjoy a Tuesday at Turfway Park, there is little doubt that the biggest races on the calendar still attract newcomers to the sport more than anything else. The prestigious races on the international calendar ensure that not only experienced bettors make wagers, but also those that only wager on certain events throughout the year.
These kinds of events include the Kentucky Derby and Grand National, where there is an air of unpredictability. It also helps that both of these races, along with a number of other prestigious races are able to entice a mainstream audience as they are broadcast on terrestrial television. Because these races are easily accessible, they entice even the most novice of horse racing follower to watch the action.
Future of the Sport
Horse racing still has some way to go before it can match the popularity levels of soccer in the United Kingdom, and American Football in the United States. And while it may never reach those sky-high popularity levels, the long-term success of the sport remains in tact.
New followers are welcomed into the sport throughout the year, and these new bettors and fans of the sport will enjoy many of the likely changes that will come into play over the next five or ten years of the sport. Those likely include the continued progression of live streaming, as well as the adaption of future technologies to improve the performances of the horses on the track.