The RCA have released the figures from the average attendances at British race meetings in 2018 and once again they have dropped for the third year in a row. From the findings in 2017 the attendances at race meetings has fell by a further 3.5 percent.
Since 2015, the average attendances at British race meetings have fallen dramatically by 7.8 percent from 4,256 in 2015 to 3,924 in 2018.
This is huge for the industry as it marks the first drop below 4,000 for over five years and it is down to a number of factors that are out of the control of the racecourses.
This year there has been two main factors pinpointed for the drop in punters going to courses, with the World Cup having a huge part to play in this. Extreme weather conditions have also been thrown into the mix as a huge deterrent to racegoers wanting to go out and enjoy a day at the races.
However, even with this bad news for the sport there is still a positive to take out of it with the Racecourse Association revealing that racing retains its spot behind football for being the most watched Live Spectator sport.
Back in 2018 there was a total 0f 5.77 million people that went racing, this is a drop of 3 percent compared to the year before where there was 5.95 million punters attending the races. 2016 saw 5.99 million where as back in 2015 it looked as if racing was at the peak of its demographic and brought in 6.13 million for that year.
With this fall in racegoers attending meetings the RCA have looked in depth to what could be the cause of this drop that has now become more than a coincidence with it happening three years on the trot.
The World Cup has been highlighted as a major decline for racing with England progressing to the Semi finals in Russia gaining a lot of following from the country. With this, the summer temperatures soaring saw more of a down turn at the same time as this and the World Cup coming together.
The beast from the east and the adverse weather conditions that we endured in the UK caused 69 race meetings throughout the year to be cancelled which only saw the numbers in attendance decrease.
However, there are two factors that The RCA are clinging on to that in the coming year could see the attendances get back to what they were or even rise to that of the following years.
These are, last year there was advanced sales rose three percent to almost 2 million sold, whilst the number of people going back for more at race meetings than just the single day also rose by 13 percent.
(Credit Racing Post) RCA chairman Maggie Carver said: "There are lots of things to be encouraged by when taking the 2018 attendance figures as a health check for the sport.
"Despite the impact of the unseasonal weather and FIFA World Cup, thanks to the hard work of racecourses, supported by the RCA and Great British Racing, we have managed to consolidate our place as the second-most attended sport.
"I'm delighted by the continued growth of advance sales and believe this is fundamental to our mission to grow raceday attendance.
"We are by no means complacent and will be working harder than ever to grow overall attendance in 2019."