A new report published by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has been released, which has revealed a rapidly growing interest in UK horse racing across China, which may offer a huge trading and influencing opportunity for the UK.
The report, entitled British Horseracing’s International Influence, sets out to examine the ways in which British racing can both influence and support the UK Government’s trading objectives abroad via sports diplomacy strategies.
Guy Henderson, Ascot Racecourse CEO, commented: “Our ambition is to continue to grow our brand and represent British racing on the global stage and it is enhanced by such an extensive broadcast network with unprecedented reach during the Royal Meeting.
“Royal Ascot 2019 was once again broadcast live in China through the Sina network, which has 270 million subscribers. This broadcast deal was first struck in 2017 and includes active social media coverage through Weibo, China’s leading social media channel with 600 million accounts.
“China is a very important emerging market for us with an increasing number of owners with interests in British racing. To be able to provide this coverage in China, where the ceremony and tradition of Royal Ascot is of considerable interest, is a key part of our international broadcast strategy.
“This partnership with Sina presents a crossover of sports and social, introducing the unique culture of British horse racing into Chinese life which we hope will develop into investment into the sport to the benefit of Britain.”
The report discusses how Britain can benefit directly from Chinese investment in British racing and indirectly by using the extraordinary appeal of global events such as Royal Ascot, Epsom Derby and the Grand National.
Chinese influence in UK racing is considerably growing, with China Horse Club and Yulong Investments having already submitted runners across a number of major British meetings, including Royal Ascot.
Sir Hugh Robertson, former Minister for Sport and the Olympics and Foreign Office Minister, who launched the report, said: “We believe that horseracing is a sport at which Great Britain leads the world, and this report demonstrates how our big race-meetings and high-quality bloodstock are already a major international draw.
“I’d like to see the UK government work more closely with British racing in the future both to promote the sport as an investment and influencing opportunity and to use its powerful international appeal to Chinese audiences and beyond.”
James Oldring, Operations Director at Great British Racing International which promotes British racing overseas, added: “British racing has long had an attraction to international investors, but China could be fertile ground for attracting new interest.
“There are already a number of Chinese investors who have made significant forays into British racing but there is a golden opportunity for the sport to capitalise on the openings presented by China’s growing horseracing industry and expanding economy.”