THE Brisbane Racing Club today announced a profit for 2014-15 despite the challenges of a year “unlike any seen before” in Queensland’s racing history.

BRC Chairman Neville Bell told today’s annual general meeting that the Club had posted a profit of $260,000 despite budgeting for a loss of $390,000 while its largest track was closed for redevelopment.

Mr Bell said the BRC’s non-racing revenue – a result of the Club’s revenue diversification strategy – had propelled the state’s largest racing club through an eventful year.

“The last 12 months were unlike any we had seen before with the closure of Eagle Farm, a new State Government and a new Racing Queensland administration,” Mr Bell said.

“We lost 40 race meetings because of Eagle Farm’s closure but we were determined to deliver a profit after our first profit in six years in 2013-14.

“We did that on the back of our commitment to a diversified revenue model that supports the BRC’s core racing activities. In the last financial year, this diversification featured a staggering $1.8 million in non-racing contributions including $750,000 from Gallopers Sports Club, $150,000 from the Eagle Farm Markets and almost $900,000 from new non-racing events.”

For the first time, the BRC has released a breakdown of the numbers of people who attended Eagle Farm and Doomben. In the last year, 482,900 attended BRC facilities in the following breakdown:

·         Racedays:                                            162,559

·         Eagle Farm Markets:                       158,567

·         Gallopers Sports Club:                    87,361

·         Major non-racing events:              65,000

·         Other non-racing events:              9,413

“The BRC will continue to have racing at the heart of its focus – it’s our core business – but the sustainability of the Club relies on the growing non-racing hospitality and event business,” Mr Bell said.

The BRC’s headline revenue figures for 2014-15 included:

·         Revenue of $36 million against a budget of $31 million

·         A revenue increase of $1 million on the previous year despite the unavailability of Eagle Farm

The BRC is engaged in $47 million of work as part of the track redevelopment of Eagle Farm, which is set to race again next May. This work is the first step in the Club’s $1.2 billion Master Plan.

The current work includes a $12 million State Government loan to construct vehicular and pedestrian tunnels beneath Eagle Farm and a $25 million commercial loan to construct 400 stables and training facilities, infield flood mitigation works and the refurbishment of training tracks.

“This is a major commitment by the BRC but it is part of a $1.2 billion Master Plan that will transform Eagle Farm and Doomben into the premier racing precinct in this nation,” Mr Bell said.

“The Master Plan includes more than 1,200 apartments in eight residential towers around Eagle Farm. One of our largest achievements in the past year was a joint venture with Mirvac to deliver that project. Construction will begin in 2016.”

Mr Bell said the joint venture was one of the most significant milestones in the history of Eagle Farm.

Doomben performed superbly as a racing venue with its increased workload in the last year. A shortened four-day Channel Seven Brisbane Racing Carnival was held in sparkling winter weather, delivering strong results for the BRC.

The BRC has been forced to close Eagle Farm for trackwork for two months to continue the redevelopment of the state’s most popular track for wagering revenue.

“This infield construction, combined with the exciting redevelopment of the racing surface at Eagle Farm, ensures the BRC has fulfilled its responsibility to help provide for the sustainability of the state’s racing industry,” Mr Bell said.

“A successful BRC is an asset to the state’s racing industry and we’re excited by what lies ahead. We thank the new State Government and the interim Racing Queensland administration for the spirit of cooperation that is helping to deliver this next stage in the 150-year history of racing in this precinct.

“We’re now very excited about 2015-16 with the promise of Eagle Farm returning to action next May as one of the most dynamic racing and training facilities in the nation.”