Inflated alcohol prices are set to stay for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival despite outcry from fans after it emerged the venue cut its costs at a recent snooker tournament.
Attendees at the World Grand Prixwhich was held at Cheltenham’s Centaur site earlier this monthwere charged £6 for a pint of Guinness throughout the competition. That’s £1.50 (or 20 per cent) cheaper than the £7.50 fee fans are used to paying for the same drop on race days.
“There are a lot more set-up costs with a major UK sporting event compared to a smaller and more locally resourced event,” explained a spokesperson for the Jockey Club. “These costs are reflective of that. At the Jockey Club, any profits are reinvested into all aspects of British horseracing.”
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The Racing Post reported the current price plan will remain in place for the 2023 Cheltenham Festival in March despite the recent outrage. Last year’s festival attracted a record attendance of 280,627 over the four days, though it was confirmed last August that the upcoming meet will be limited to 68,500 spectators per day.
Racing fan and blogger Stephen R. Power asked: “How does Guinness cost £7.50 a pint at the Cheltenham Festival but £6 a pint at the Snooker event held at Cheltenham racecourse last week?” He went on to call it a “p*** take” that racing fans are required to pay a premium price for the same product.
Others took umbrage with the Jockey Club’s explanation that a smaller-scale event could afford to charge cheaper prices due to lower overheads. “If anything there (sic) selling more should be cheaper,” argued one disgruntled spectator, who suggested more volume being sold at race events should mean they can cope more easily charging less per pint.
Others were more understanding of the increased costs as Stuart Musgrave tweeted such is “the norm for any decent events” these days. Others made the point that the hosts would be forced to drop cost if people simply didn’t buy the product, but the high demand allows Cheltenham to hike their prices.
The Racing Post added Cheltenham’s £7.50 fee was the highest fans will find at any racecourse across Britain and Ireland. Epsom came a close second by charging £7 per pint of the ‘black stuff’, while Goodwood, Royal Ascot and Sandown tie in third at £6.80 a go.
There are concerns among fans that the average racegoer is being priced out of the usual race day experience, with ticket prices for Cheltenham’s first three days ranging between £50 and £103. Tickets for Gold Cup Day, meanwhile, start at £92 before the first sip has even been taken.