As the Spring Racing Carnival draws to a close, Racing Victoria (RV) has released its new Strategic Plan which articulates its vision for thoroughbred racing in Victoria during the three financial year periods ending 30 June, 2016.
Developed in consultation with key stakeholders, the plan gives consideration to the current state of the industry and some of the longer-term issues and opportunities impacting the sport in Victoria, while outlining a path from which growth and further success can be achieved.
Focusing on the change levers that RV can either directly control or influence, the plan articulates the key priorities and objectives the industry collectively needs to embrace for the sport to prosper into the next decade.
It defines the need for growth across a number of sectors, including wagering, attendance, prizemoney, viewership and the industry’s digital assets, as the ultimate measures of success across the three years.
“The plan serves to engage the whole of the organisation and our industry stakeholders and participants in a shared vision for the future,” RV Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry said.
“It is a simple articulation of what we want to achieve as an organisation to ensure future success and growth for the industry. It is a road map that defines our annual priorities and key objectives and says publicly this is the direction the industry is heading here in Victoria.
“The industry faces many challenges with turnover growth rates slowing to 1 to 2 percent, continued competition from other sports and leisure activities, a declining national foal crop and the need to maintain a complex network of infrastructure.
“This plan lays the foundations for us to positively influence the future of the sport, but it requires maximum buy-in from all participants if we are to grow.
“Unless the industry as a collective group is willing to innovate, embrace change and share the vision then we will not achieve the growth across wagering, participation, engagement and funding that our sport needs to prosper.”
The plan is underpinned by 10 key objectives that will be fundamental to driving growth over the next three years;
1. Working with the clubs to integrate Victorian-controlled media assets under a new and more effective governance model with work underway on the development of a joint digital platform for the industry to better market and engage the public;
2. The restructuring of the raceday calendar and the development of more innovative programming to add more major events within key attendance, media and wagering windows, with a thorough review of all aspects currently underway;
3. Continued investment in the showcase Spring Racing Carnival period, whilst seeking to aggressively grow attendances in the late summer/early autumn period in partnership with the clubs;
4. Drive an international growth agenda through delivering expanded wagering and media packages for priority international markets in partnership with clubs, media and wagering partners and international Principal Racing Authorities;
5. Working with our clubs to build the next generation of fans through investment in fan development and engagement programs, with a particular emphasis on boosting female participation across all sectors, including jockeys, trainers, owners and fans;
6. Strengthen the industry’s core revenue, by working with Tabcorp to grow thoroughbred wagering turnover and overall Joint Venture profit, whilst monitoring the effects of RV’s Race Fields Policy to determine the level of media and data support required to encourage promotion of the sport by wagering operators;
7. Development of a white paper for the use and maintenance of tracks and infrastructure across the state beyond the 2013-14 season with a view to developing a sustainable footprint for the next decade;
8. Further enhancement of resources for issues that affect the fabric of the sport in equine welfare and integrity;
9. Restructure the way the industry allocates resources for the different types of racedays, to extract cost savings, efficiencies and performance gains, without compromising the quality or integrity of the sport and the wellbeing of participants; and
10. Reduction of RV debt ahead of forecast from $27 million to $6 million, while still being able to invest in priority strategic objectives.
Saundry explained that a range of strategic objectives had been identified across each sector of the industry for the three years, with work underway on a number of priority projects.
“The Strategic Plan clearly defines all the objectives that will bring growth to the industry. Our job now is to work with the stakeholders and participants to determine what the outcomes will be, particularly around our racing calendar and infrastructure,” Saundry said.
Whilst specific targets have been set around such things as debt reduction, average field sizes and international wagering returns, a ceiling for growth has not been placed on other industry measures which carry broader performance targets.
The measures of success will include;
> Growth in feature event attendance above 1.4 million per annum
> Growth in total visitation to the aggregated Victorian thoroughbred racing’s digital assets from 4.1 million unique users per annum
> Growth in total national wagering turnover from $5 billion per annum
> Growth in international turnover from $275m to $366m
> Growth in total income earned from wagering from $296 million per annum
> Raise annual prizemoney from $168 million
> Increase average starter numbers for TAB flat races to 10.5 per race
> Increase Super VOBIS nominations from 2300 and the VOBIS Gold participation rate from 55% of the foal crop
“The future can be very bright for thoroughbred racing in Victoria if the industry challenges itself to innovate and works together on the key objectives outlined in this plan,” Saundry said.
“The Board and staff at Racing Victoria are committed and passionate about achieving this goal and we are excited about what the next three years will bring.”
To view Racing Victoria’s Strategic Plan click here.