New study reveals MRC contributes $482m to Victorian economy

The Melbourne Racing Club (MRC), the organisation responsible for the Caulfield Cup Carnival, The Peninsula Picnic, and over 300 other annual events contributed $482 million into the Victorian economy last year, a new study has found. 

In addition to the MRC’s economic contribution, the Club created an additional 1,751 full, part time and casual jobs, welcomed 1.85 million patrons and raised a total of $1.05 million through the Club’s charitable arm, the MRC Foundation. 

The MRC Masterplan – which is entirely self-funded - contributed significantly to the economy, with the redevelopment set to transform Caulfield into a world class racing, event and recreational destination for members, participants, guests and the local community.

$71.6 million was spent on capital works with $62.7 million attributable to the MRC Masterplan, which was responsible for creating 494 construction jobs. 

MRC plan to invest over $403 million into the MRC Masterplan Future Contributions from FY24 to FY28 with this capital investment to result in an estimated 1,470 jobs (200 direct) and over $120 million of direct impact. 

Significantly, almost half ($266.2m) of the total contribution made by the Club to the economy was derived from non-racing activity; with the major contributor to the value driven by the Club coming from gaming and ancillary revenue made through the Club’s 14 venues managed under the Pegasus Leisure Group ($170.1 million). 

Additionally, MRC delivered 333 functions and events throughout Victoria, highlighting the Club’s diversification into events, hospitality and other interests with MRC venues in use for 1,619 event days, resulting in an economic contribution of $96.1m.

The functions and events portfolio at the Club will continue to grow at an exponential rate with plans for the racecourse to become the most visited event venue in the southeast as the MRC Masterplan unlocks greater potential and use at Caulfield Racecourse.

The economic impact generated from non-race day activities allows for the Club to re-invest proceeds back into racing and provide a world-class event experience for the benefit of MRC members, racing fans and industry participants.

The Club's racing events, including the Caulfield Cup Carnival and the 70+ other race days conducted at the Club's three racecourses saw 5,963 races held with 169,427 racegoers in attendance, a total of $45.4m in prizemoney on offer, resulting in $1.5bn wagering turnover.  

On Carlton Draught Caulfield Cup, 75.5% of General Admission racegoers were aged between 18 and 39 years old and $32.8% of those who enjoyed on course hospitality were from outside Metropolitan Melbourne. 

The Economic Impact Study was commissioned by the Club and undertaken by Ernst & Young to investigate the level of economic value created through its events, activities and functions. The Club manages Caulfield, Mornington and Sportsbet Sandown Racecourses, as well as fourteen hospitality and gaming venues in Victoria. This value is identified as the total value of goods and services produced through activity by the Club. 

When compared to figures recorded in the same study undertaken in 2017, the Club contributed $18 million more to the economy in 2023, despite having a more streamlined business operation with horse training having ceased at Caulfield Racecourse, closure of Gontran Cherrier bakeries and a smaller Functions and Events business due to the ongoing Masterplan works. 

MRC CEO, Josh Blanksby, says the report illustrates the important role the Club plays within the community and the subsequent impacts on the economy. 

“We are mindful of the role the Melbourne Racing Club plays in the community, and we are committed to increasing our economic and social contribution well into the future,” said Blanksby.

"The MRC Masterplan we announced in 2019 has progressed remarkably, with the new mounting yard, day stalls and pre-parade, and second racetrack to be in operation in the coming months. This is a significant milestone for the Club as we realise our masterplan vision and commit to even greater capital investment over the next four years.

"Our ever-growing non-race day portfolio contributed a record $96.1m to the economy and reiterates the importance of diversification at the Club with venue hire for owned events and functions an important aspect of our business that the community continue to enjoy. 

"One of the Club's priorities is to expand our social impact via the MRC Foundation through an increase in fundraising donations and support to our partner charities and other charitable organisations within the communities in which we operate.”