Victoria Racing Club delivers record performance

The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has delivered a record profit of nearly $7.5 million for the 2012/13 racing season, up from $2.4 million the previous year, strengthening its position to implement its ambitious Masterplan for Flemington.

The profit allowed the Club to fully repay its remaining $9 million bank debt. During the season the VRC invested over $10 million in racecourse improvements, and increased returns to owners, paying more than $36.4 million in prize money.

The strong financial performance was achieved through increasing revenue to $150.5 million, up $7.2 million or five per cent, running a highly successful 2012 Melbourne Cup Carnival and reviewing costs and identifying areas for considerable savings.

According to the VRC annual report released on Wednesday, raceday catering, dining, hospitality and outdoor events generated $46.5 million in revenue, public ticketing $14 million, and marketing, sponsorship and broadcast rights a further $23.1 million. TAB distributions added $30.5 million and membership revenue contributed $17.9 million.

VRC Chairman Michael Burn said that all of the profits are being reinvested into the Club to the benefit of its 30,000 members, racing participants and visitors to Flemington, as well as the economy.

“At the beginning of the 2012/13 season the VRC announced ambitious plans to consolidate its financial position and roll out significant customer focussed infrastructure upgrades. This report demonstrates we are delivering on our plans,” Burn said.

“There is no doubt that this improved performance sets up the Club to deliver on its Masterplan, including a new Members’ grandstand, and to ensure the Melbourne Cup Carnival continues to be Australia’s leading sporting, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality event.

“During the season, we made substantial improvements to the general admission Hill Stand and made further progress on improving facilities for Members with capital expenditure in excess of $10 million.

“The VRC has continued the rollout of racecourse improvements into this season, including our new world-leading wi-fi network.

“No other self-sufficient event in Australia can claim to have such a positive effect on a local economy and government revenue.”

The annual report states that more than 350,000 people attended Flemington for the 2012 Melbourne Cup Carnival with more than 53,000 visitors coming from outside Victoria. The Carnival contributed more than $366 million to the Victorian economy and $18.1 million in prize money to racing connections, delivering strong benefits to both the general community and the racing industry.

During the year the VRC, the world’s largest member-based race club, continued to raise the standard for world-class events while balancing the needs of the racing industry and the local community.

Flemington’s world-first in situ desalination units produced 45 million litres of irrigation water, while 25,000 Kw/h of electricity was produced by on-site solar panels. During the 2012/13 financial year SecondBite collected in excess of five tonnes of food for redistribution, while 81 per cent of Melbourne Cup Carnival waste was diverted to composting, food rescue or co-mingled recycling. This figure has increased significantly from 28 per cent in 2008.

Vision Australia received more than $200,000 from the VRC’s Pin & Win charity initiative, assisting with the redevelopment of its Seeing Eye Dog training and breeding facility.

Burn said the VRC Board aimed to deliver an impressive list of initiatives designed to maintain Flemington’s position at the pinnacle of thoroughbred racing in Australia.

“In 2012/13 the VRC continued the process of board and management renewal, strengthening the Club, its events and its future,” Burn said.

“Three new directors were appointed, including our new CEO David Courtney, who is charged with overseeing substantial improvements to facilities at Flemington and maintaining growth.”

Elections for three board positions will take place next month with six candidates, including three incumbents standing.