SIS Grows Irish Greyhound Racing Betting For Global Market

SIS Grows Irish Greyhound Racing Betting For Global Market

Leading betting services provider SIS has created two unusually early morning greyhound meetings in Ireland to provide live Irish greyhound betting to Australia.

Kilkenny and Waterford greyhound racing tracks will now hold meetings on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, starting at 8.18am. SIS will sponsor every race, increase prize funds, pay a media fee to the tracks and ensure no greyhound runs without earning a cash prize.

The deal provides an invaluable lifeline to these two provincial tracks, and comes off the back of SIS first bringing Irish greyhound racing to betting shops in 2016. It has grown its offering of the product from three meetings per week to a schedule in 2019 that will see greyhounds from Ireland shown live six days a week.

Why Have Early Greyhound Racing in Ireland?

SIS is a global brand, providing live horse and dog racing to betting shops in several countries. It needs to have live sports betting content to fill almost every hour of the day to cater for its customers in all time zones.

One of the biggest is Australia, which is 11 hours ahead of Ireland, meaning that early morning Irish greyhound racing will sit nicely amongst betting shops' other sports offerings during their evening opening hours.

Paul Witten, Product Director at SIS, said: “This new early morning horse and greyhound racing content bolsters our Early Morning Product, which is valued by our customers across the world, and provides our customers with an improved content offering.

The meetings are fully paid for by SIS and are not designed to fill stadia, or even for Europeans to bet on, as most betting shops in Ireland and the UK don't open before 9am.

However, by having them live on SIS, online betting should become available for these Irish greyhound meetings, further increasing the industry's reach and value - and ultimately securing its future.

Greyhound Trainers' Exciting opportunity'

It is hard to quantive the indirect value of this SIS deal with Kilkenny and Waterford Greyhound tracks, but they now have a guaranteed income 12 months of the year.

With funding from the Irish Greyhound Board, and one meeting every week fully sponsored, there is scope for both courses to expand, and with that will come the growth of greyhound racing in the areas - Irish greyhound racing as a whole employing more than 5,000 people.

“This is an exciting opportunity for the track, dog owners and trainers,” Tom Kinane, general manager of Kilkenny told Kilkenny People.

“I am confident this will work,” he added. “The response from the owners and trainers has been very positive. All appreciate the increase in prize money. The start time for the races is a bit unusual, but the willingness is there, so I’m sure it can be a success.”

Without this, Kilkenny used to drop Wednesday racing for December, January and February, relying on one Friday night meeting to make its business viable. The extra money and exposure generated by this SIS deal will allow investment to begin.

Already in the pipeline is renovation of its grandstand, with assistance from a €1million development grant from the IGB.

SIS Irish Greyhound Racing Deal

SIS signed a five-year deal with the Irish Greyhound Board in 2016 to hold the exclusive picture rights to four meetings from three tracks: Youghal, Mullingar and Tralee (two events).

In July 2018, they added an evening meeting from Limerick, and another from Cork, and also an additional meeting from Youghal, to take their live racing to two per week.

When Kilkenny's morning meeting begins on Wednesday, December 12, and Waterford joins the schedule on Thursday, January 3, SIS's Irish greyhound racing broadcasts will total nine per week - two morning cards, one afternoon and five evening sessions.

"This gives the IGB, and the Irish greyhound industry as a whole, further opportunity to showcase our racing product to the SIS audience," said Director of Tote Wagering and IT with the IGB, Joe Lewins: "We will continue to promote the product so that Irish greyhound racing can benefit from those exposures and revenues."

Each meeting has a separate deal with SIS via the IGB and is backed by the broadcaster, offering direct fees to the courses, as well as paying prize money out to all dogs that race.

Sponsorship in Greyhound Racing

Last year economist Jim Power published a study on the Irish Greyhound industry, that outlined the stark decline in greyhound racing sponsorship, and subsequent drop in prize money - the lifeblood of the industry.

Even as funding from the government began to increase again in 2015, sponsorship did not stop falling until 2016. From a high of €2.1million in 2007, by 2016 it was merely €784,444.

Funding allowed for prize money to begin recovery at that time, but in 2016 the total prize money was still €4.2million less than it had been in 2007.

The reversal has begun though, with the IGB increasing prize money by 25% from October, 2017. That equates to an investment of €1.2million up to the end of 2018.

Power's report also found that the Irish Greyhound industry contributes €300m in additional economic activity, and €12.7m per annum in PAYE/PRSI contributions.

Employs more than 5,000 people in predominately rural areas, with 15 of Ireland's 16 dog racing courses outside of the capital Dublin, and provides economic benefit to a further 7,313 greyhound owners.



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