St Leger Festival expected to bring in £15m to Doncaster economy
Business bosses in Doncaster have said that the long-awaited return of fans to St Leger will bring a multi-million pound boost to the borough’s economy.
Doncaster Chamber CEO Dan Fell said the prestigious four-day horse racing festival is expecting to bring in around £15 million.
The racecourse itself benefits but the wider impact also benefits hospitality, borough travel firms and the tourism industry through hotel revenue.
Mr Fell said it was a massive boost following last year’s event which only allowed a small number of spectators on the first day.
The event last year hit the headlines after council health bosses ordered that spectators were not allowed to attend on days two, three and four due to increasing Covid-19 cases and concerns around further spread.
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During the September 2020 event, more than 2,500 spectators bought tickets for Doncaster Racecourse on the Wednesday as the Leger meeting started amid uncertainty over new government rules.
It was the first crowd at a British horse racing fixture since the coronavirus pandemic lockdown – as part of a pilot scheme for sporting events.
Arena Racing Company (Arc), which runs Doncaster Racecourse, then took the decision to hold the festival without spectators and said the decision cost the company about £250,000.
Dan Fell, CEO of Doncaster Chamber, said: “The St Leger is incredibly important to Doncaster’s economy. Firstly, it is an iconic sporting event, which attracts thousands of visitors to the area each September.
“The festival also generates a significant amount of income for the borough and provides employment opportunities within the hospitality and leisure sector.
“In addition, it is known for being a setting where many important business connections are made and strengthened, through the wealth of opportunities it creates for networking and corporate hospitality.
“Indeed, as a Chamber we were delighted to host over 170 representatives of Doncaster’s business community on Thursday for Ladies Day after not being able to go ahead last year due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid pandemic.
“It was devastating for the Borough’s economy, particularly hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors who were forced to close down completely.”