The Board of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has approved a scheme for the provision of Wi-Fi across all 26 Irish racecourses.
In partnership with the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR), HRI will provide up to a maximum of €1 million in grant aid to racecourses for the project which will represent an estimated investment of €2 million over a number of years.
Phase one of the project will begin in 2017 with the installation of a dedicated fibre connection to all racecourses. The second phase will focus on providing a dedicated, high-speed Wi-Fi network. The entire project is expected to be completed within 12–18 months.
As each racecourse will have its own specific requirements, a bespoke solution will be provided to each track. Surveys will be undertaken at all racecourses in consultation with managers, giving racecourses the opportunity to decide upon their optimum Wi-Fi coverage.
The project will be overseen by HRI’s Commercial and Broadcast Manager, Darren Lawlor and a technical consultant will be appointed to assist with the design and implementation phase. Details of the tender will be published in the coming weeks in order to secure a supplier who is in a position to provide connectivity to all 26 racecourses.
Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland said: “HRI is happy to approve this exciting project, which will see Irish racecourses providing a consistent Wi-Fi platform at all our venues. This will be of great benefit to both racegoers and those working in the industry and assist in marketing and promoting race meetings.”
Paddy Walsh, Chief Executive of the Association of Irish Racecourses commented: “We welcome HRI’s decision to co-fund the provision of Wi-Fi across the 26 racecourses. Our members are keen to start providing fast, reliable Wi-Fi coverage in order to meet the expectations of their customers. We believe that this will make the experience of going racing more interactive and enjoyable, allowing racegoers to get connected with their local racecourses and to share the social experience.”
Darren Lawlor, HRI’s Commercial and Broadcast Manager added: “This is a significant development for Irish racing, providing an integrated network across all racecourses. Following on from our recent introduction of High Definition pictures for Irish racing, providing a Wi-Fi solution is the next step in improving the on-course digital customer experience as part of our strategy to recruit and retain racegoers.”