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Cheltenham Raises Stakes on Gold Cup Race - Racegoers Scrambling for Last Tickets

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    LONDON, ENGLAND, February 09, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Drawing a crowd of over 70,000 racegoers a year, many would call the Gold Cup the National Hunt Festival's prime attraction. But Cheltenham organizers beg to differ, claiming the race has not yet reached its peak celebrity status. To offset the race's convergence with the festival's other attractions, Cheltenham's masterminds limit ticket purchases to elevate the race's stature.

Many would think that over GBP800,000 in presales would accredit the Gold Cup with the title of flagship event. For those who would think that an estimated GBP200,000 lost in purchased tickets would raise an eyebrow or two would be thinking wrong. Cheltenham organizers are intent on proving that a few hundred thousand lost in 2013 will more than repay themselves when 2014 rolls around.

The business model at hand is a simple one. Limit the number of tickets sold to this year's Gold Cup from just over 70,000 to just under 65,000. Conduct sales on a first-come first-served basis and get the word out that ticket prices will raise as the event approaches. Then, sit back and watch the masses swarm. Raising an event's prestige is as simple as that, say festival organizers taking their cue from some of the UK's most loved music and sporting events.

With Britain's unpredictable weather and showers threatening to rain on the parade of those planning to watch the Gold Cup Cheltenham from its outdoor course-side seating, indoor facilities are something of a pricy luxury. All it takes, say festival organizers, is limiting entrance to the indoor hall one year and you could charge 25% more on tickets in coming years.

Another reason for limiting ticket sales, and one coming from a rather contending logic, is based on how crowded the halls get with 70,400 racegoers crammed into them at once. Coming from festival spokesman Andy Clifton, limiting ticket sales will make for a better atmosphere inside the halls. For those paying good money to see the race in relative comfort, the halls' over-populated state is a turn off and a good enough reason not to buy tickets next year.

There is a difference, it would seem, between a teeming venue, energetic and full of pent-up excitement, and an overcrowded arena clearly too small to hold the audience it serves. If we are able to give customers a comfortable experience, they will likely be more understanding if we are forced to raise ticket prices slightly, explain festival directors.

Whatever the logic that will see ticket numbers plummeting and prices rising, the Gold Cup's lucrative status is about to get that much more profitable.

The Gold Cup is an annual horse race run during the British National Hunt Races, known more colloquially as the Cheltenham Festival. Hosted in Gloucestershire, Cheltenham takes place every year during March, often coinciding with St Patricks Day. In 2013, the four-day event is scheduled to begin March 12.

About William Hill

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Jesse Elliot
William Hill

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