Irish Greyhound Board launches ambitious blueprint
When the Irish Greyhound Board set out to formulate their five-year strategic business plan, the intention was simple – improve the health of the greyhound industry.
Having held discussions with all sectors of the industry and studied the international modules, they set about producing the strategy in conjunction with O'KellySutton.
The ambition was to develop a plan that will enable the IGB to move towards becoming more financially self-sufficient and less reliant on bank borrowings, while retaining the traditions and cultural importance of Irish greyhound racing.
The job has finally been completed and the five-year strategic plan has been published.
As CEO Adrian Neilan commented: "The entire climate has changed dramatically in recent years and new structures and new capability had to be introduced."
As a result, one of the most significant early initiatives will be the appointment of a five-member executive team, comprising a chief financial (CFO) officer and directors of racing governance, sponsorship, Tote and wagering and commercial operations.
Already the positions of CFO and director of commercial operations have been appointed, while the Tote and wagering and sponsorship jobs will be filled very shortly.
Among the primary aims will be: establishing the most rigorous and effective regulatory code in the wagering industry; increasing revenue earned from off-stadium betting in Ireland and internationally; streaming racing events to selected international locations; continuing to develop the Classic meetings into major entertainment events; negotiating greater media coverage; obtaining greater income from sponsorship for Classic and local meetings; building higher attendance through improved marketing; and increasing income from the Tote through new and more aggressive offers.
It is acknowledged that some problems must be addressed immediately, such as the reduction in the sale of greyhounds to the UK and the impact of the continued closure of tracks across the water.
In conjunction with the launch of the strategic plan, a new IGB app will be unveiled. This will most likely be available in a matter of weeks and will allow for betting and live race streaming.
The whole area of wagering is being strongly promoted. Since the beginning of the planning, 16 new opportunities to partner with significant organisations have been identified and negotiations are ongoing.
These include betting groups, sport betting platforms, hotel chains and overseas organisations.
On-track operations will also be stepped up, with further staff training, incentive programmes and procedures to drive higher jackpot returns.
It is also planned to stage a small number of daytime meetings at regional stadia streamed to bookmakers' offices.
Already the IGB has a deal in place with SIS which allows racing content from Shelbourne to be broadcast on a global scale. The launch of the new app is likely to usher in further deals with home and foreign chains.
The strategy also envisages increasing the attendances at tracks from its current base of 720,000 through improved and innovative marketing.
The basic product is not being forgotten either as the breeding of greyhounds is of paramount importance.
Prize-money grants will be greater, with subsequent increases in line with stadia performances and it is also hoped to introduce other support initiatives.
If only half the plans come to fruition, the Irish greyhound industry will certainly be in a much healthier state.