A Survey of Horse Racing Opinions and Perceptions

Henrietta Patterson, Victoria J. Hodge

Research output: Working paperPreprint


With a global reach of 584 million households, horse racing is a globally important sport with 14 million potential UK customers. Although it is the UK’s second-most attended sport, attendances fell by 500,000+ from 2015 to 2019, with particular problems engaging and retaining younger audiences. This study focuses on the Millennial and Gen-Z demographics to discover why audiences show a reduced interest. We analyse the determinants underlying engagement using focus groups and a questionnaire. Our empirical results identify the key factors determining attendance and viewing. Horse racing is exciting and social but there are ethical concerns around horse injuries and horses’ fates. Concerns are far higher than for other competitive sports, and increase systematically as participants get younger. Participants would engage more if openness was increased with this willingness increasing as participants get younger. Horse racing lacks easily identifiable figures and there are concerns around betting, terminology and attendance costs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022 Henrietta Patterson, Victoria Hodge

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