Advertising on British racecourses will join other major sports by featuring digital LED (light-emitting diode) displays on the landing side of fences, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced on Wednesday.
Following consultation with racecourses, the Racecourse Association (RCA) and participants including trainers and jockeys – as well as trials of equipment developed by sports marketing agency Priority Sports Marketing – the BHA’s General Instructions will be updated from 1 October to permit the use of LED screens attached to the back of fence frames. The use of the LED displays will be permitted in advance of 1 October on a trial basis as long as permission is sought from the BHA by the racecourse in question.
The LED displays must be static when runners are in the vicinity of the fences – i.e. going to post or competing in a race – but otherwise the displays will allow for more creative visual advertising and the opportunity to switch between advertisers and sponsors for different races on a card.
The displays are battery powered and therefore carry no electrocution risk to horse or rider should they come into contact with the screen.
Richard Linley, Senior Inspector of Courses for the BHA, said: “LED displays are used widely in other sports and provide for a more modern appearance and greater flexibility for racecourses, which we hope will help them generate greater revenue from advertisement and sponsorship.
“The proposals have been tested extensively and received the support of racecourses and the participants who will be riding over the fences and whose horses will be competing in races. The displays are on the landing side of fences so will not affect participants and will be static during races so the viewing experience for those watching the races will not be impacted.”
Caroline Davies, Racecourse Services Director for the RCA, said: “I am pleased to see LED screens arrive to British racing and look forward to seeing these introduced in the coming months. They will unquestionably enhance the raceday experience and also will open up valuable opportunities for our sponsors and supporters which in turn open new income streams for our members. The technology is state of the art and will add a further layer of engagement, both on-course and for the television audience.”