Covid-19 has affected a large majority of the world and has led to many day to day operations grinding to a halt. In January one could never have predicted the lockdowns and international travel restrictions that many countries are currently experiencing.
Sadly, the world of sports is not immune to these restrictions, from the Premier League to the Olympics the vast majority of sporting events internationally have been indefinitely shut down or postponed. This has left a gaping void in sports broadcasters programming and has left the general public starved for action, nothing to watch, talk about, tweet about or gamble on.
With infection rates dropping and lockdowns easing there is hope that many sports will be able to return, albeit as ghost matches without spectators. However, it is still uncertain how this will operate whilst respecting social distancing measures and keeping attendees safe.
What Is the Effect Of Coronavirus On Horse Race Betting?
One sport that is looking promising for returning swiftly is horse racing, huge benefits of this sport are that you need relatively few members of staff to operate a racetrack without spectators, all tracks are open-air and it does not appear that coronavirus is communicable to horses, some rare good news, in a sport where the animal is the athlete.
This means the vacuum left by a lack of other sports, should soon be filled by the return of racing in the UK, this is good news for those who like to have a flutter on top horse racing betting sites bestbettingsites.co.uk.
Regarding betting, ‘ghost’ races shouldn’t cause too much of an issue. In the UK horse racing is the most popular betting market after football and, according to the Founder and CEO of horseracingnation.com Mark Midland, 90% of the betting pool worldwide already comes from off-track wagering.
Currently, the British Horse Racing Authority is planning to resume on June 1st and in Ireland, the provisional date for return is June 8th. Many other countries are now operating races without spectators including the US, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan, although some of the major fixtures such as the Kentucky Derby have been postponed until later in the year.
The majority of the horse racing industry seems to be resuming to business as usual and so far, the industry hasn’t seen a major residual impact on stud fees or auction prices for horses either.
What Impact Will This Have on Horse Race Viewership?
It could be the case that these uncertain times will provide an opportunity for a sport such as horse racing.
Horse racing has all the key ingredients that a sport needs to be successful; it is fast paced, has quick results, has pageantry, and of course many creative and exciting ways of gambling. However, it is lacking mainstream TV distribution, and this is something that Covid-19 could be set to alter.
People are staying home, working from home and their entertainment options are very limited. Sports networks are content starved, and this leaves horse racing in good standing to fill the void left by the lack of other sports. Hopefully, this will lead to the creation of new fans and generate mainstream interest in the sport. This should be a great time to put the sport in front of new or casual fans.
Sports broadcasters in the US have already altered their programming to accommodate more Horse Racing, Fox Sports 2 has already added an extra 7½ hours of horse racing coverage to their schedule. It is also expected that broadcasting styles will be altered to make Horse Racing more accessible to those that don’t know the sport.
TVG is the broadcaster with the most horse racing viewership in the US. Recently their chief executive, Kip Levin said: “You will see us modifying how we broadcast things this weekend, anticipating new people, we’re going to be more cognizant about teaching people about how to watch the sport and teach them more about racing.”
An increase in mainstream TV distribution will hopefully lead to this predicted increase in viewers and should generate an increased amount of people wishing to place wagers.
It is hoped, despite all the negatives repercussions of coronavirus, that the return of racing will provide a little light relief, relaxation and entertainment at a time when the public most need it.