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Major Racing Festivals and the Anticipated Boost for Local Start-Up Companies

Simply put, horse racing is a massive commercial sport. It may not receive the same amount of coverage as football but racing wasn’t far behind as the second most attended sport last year and plenty of punters will be looking forward to the major events in the next couple of months.

With the likes of the Aintree Grand National and the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket fast approaching, horse racing fans will be expecting plenty of success… and so will the start-up businesses that specifically target popular sporting events. With around 80,000 expected to head to Cheltenham for Gold Cup day alone, there will be plenty of people to impress.

Most businessmen assume that starting up a business in an area with a sporting background can prove beneficial during peak times of the calendar year and that is certainly true when the important racing meetings occur. Ultimately, trade and tourism industries profit more than most; with some hotels charging over twice the standard going rate for a room.

While some might label that as taking advantage, it is smart and astute business – almost everybody does it. One prime example of a potential winner, even if it is aimed specifically at major meetings, is a shuttle transport idea. A number of major companies offer similar services but local businesses can attempt to undercut by offering a slightly cheaper rate.

Nowadays, the majority of racegoers tend to travel by public transport due to the culture of a ‘day at the races’ and there is certainly a market in most areas for a shuttle to and from the racecourse. With most courses in rural areas, the nearest train station may be a couple of miles away and that opens the door for a start-up travel company to take advantage as racegoers flock to the course.

Even if not directly offering transport, they can potentially advertise in bus stations, on train platforms and around the main public transport areas – that way, word can spread. Local businesses could consider sponsoring a horse or stable to ensure additional coverage. Take local trainer Jonjo O’Neill for example; he will have two prominent runners in next month’s Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Any new business will see this as a potential marketing opportunity, who wouldn’t? Using a flourishing stable for marketing purposes seems a small price to pay considering how much coverage the major events get. Those betting on Cheltenham festival 2017 with Paddy Power can back either of O’Neill’s runners, Minella Rocco or More of That at 20/1 as of February 28th and local start-ups will be praying for a nearby victory.

Cheltenham is a very popular area for trainers, owners and punters – and the Festival in March is one of the highlights of the National Hunt season. For nearby businesses and the local community, the Festival helps to boost trade and tourism as well as revenue from mass advertising for such a major event.

Bristol de Mai, trained by Cheltenham-based Nigel Twiston-Davies, looks set to run in the Gold Cup; the showpiece race of the four-day meeting. With a bit of luck, Cheltenham’s very own Twiston-Davies family could produce a memorable Gold Cup moment of their own – a result that would certainly go down well with the locals.

Restaurants, bars and hotels will benefit greatly during the Cheltenham Festival and start-up companies may attempt to take advantage by tweaking their strategy to incorporate and appeal to all visitors. Should a local owner, such as O’Neill or Twiston-Davies, emerge victorious in the biggest race of all, avid racing fans will flock to the area throughout the year to pay homage to the 2017 Gold Cup winner. All fingers and toes will be crossed for a Cheltenham-based runner in the surrounding area this year.


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