Dip in Derby attendance blamed on Euro 2016
Official attendance of 18,244 at the Curragh over 7,000 down on last year
Racing in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday. Photograph: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan
The impact of the Euro 2016 soccer championships has been identified as a factor in a dramatic attendance dip at Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.
An official attendance of 18,244 at the Curragh was down over 7,000 on last year’s figure of 25,255. A crowd of 23,946 attended the Derby in 2013.
“I’m not too perturbed as there’s no doubt all the entertainment focus right now is on the Euros,” said the new chief executive of Curragh Racecourse Ltd, Derek McGrath.
“It was a fabulous day with great excitement, and the hospitality sector was definitely up.”
McGrath also confirmed that planning permission for the Curragh’s €65 million redevelopment has been granted by Kildare County Council. The step is ahead of schedule for a project which is due to be completed by 2018.
“The council have indicated to us over the weekend their intention to issue planning to us. It is ahead of schedule.
“We have worked very hard with Kildare County Council, and there has been rigour on both sides to keep the project on track.”
Submissions and objections to the proposed redevelopment have already been lodged to the council. There is firm timeframe as to when those issues may be resolved.