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University study reveals value of Cheltenham Festival to local economy

A special report by University of Gloucestershire indicates that last year’s Cheltenham Festival – one of the biggest events in the sporting calendar – was worth an estimated £274 million to the local economy.

The figure is nearly three times the estimated total for the event in 2016, when jump racing’s most prestigious four days secured approximately £100 million for local businesses.

The figures are contained in a report released today by Cheltenham Racecourse which assesses the impacts of the 2022 Cheltenham Festival on the local economy through the use of Economic Impact Analysis (EIA).

This methodology examines the effect of an event on the economy of a specified area, in this case Cheltenham Racecourse, and measures the potential direct impact on the local economy. 

The key findings of the project, led by the University’s Finance in Society Research Institute (FSRI), were: 

Results were compiled by the University from an online survey managed by Cheltenham Racecourse using a questionnaire developed to achieve the project aim. A survey was distributed to each party that attended asking about their expenditure during the event.

Lecturer (Charles Afriye) on Accounting and Business Management course teaching students at Oxstalls campus

Dr Charles Afriyie (left), Senior Lecturer in Accounting within the Gloucestershire Business School at the University and Director of the FSRI, said: “The project undertaken by University of Gloucestershire in 2016 was the first time the impact of the Cheltenham Festival on the local economy had been properly researched and analysed.

“Seven years later, it is fascinating to see how The Festival has continued to grow, including in its beneficial effect on the economy in the Cheltenham locality.

“We hope our project will prove useful for Cheltenham Racecourse in its planning for the years ahead.”

Ian Renton, the Jockey Club’s Regional Managing Director for the West Region, said: “We welcomed a record crowd of 280,627 over the four days of The Festival in 2022 and it is very satisfying to see that have such a tremendously beneficial effect on the wider economy in the Cheltenham area.

“Our links with the local community are strong, and earlier this week we announced an enhanced version of the ‘Love Our Turf’ campaign at the Festival to put engagement with and the needs of our local residents and businesses at the heart of the event.

“I would like to thank everyone at University of Gloucestershire who worked on this project – it has provided us with so many useful insights to help us plan for future Festivals.”