Owlerton Greyhound Stadium has completed a £500,000 investment programme to boost the venues’ spectator experience and future event credentials.
Management at Yorkshire’s premier race track have pumped the six figure sum into renovation and refurbishment work at the Sheffield-based business.
The investment, which has seen changes and upgrades to existing bars, the snack bar and kitchen and toilet facilities across the lower ground floor of the main grandstand, aims to maximise operational efficiency, attract a more diverse audience and to keep up with the company’s aggressive sales and marketing programme.
The Paddock Bar, which was once separated from the snack bar via a tunnel, can now accommodate greater spectator numbers and offer a broader range of events.
John Gilburn, managing director at Owlerton Greyhound Stadium, said:
Our company’s business strategy hinges around the provision of a good quality visitor experience.
The bars and food service operation on the ground floor of the main stand was uninviting and a lack of modern spectator amenities inside made it difficult for people to relax. It was also not in keeping with the rest of the stadium.
The previous snack bar and bar area were old fashioned and not designed to accommodate different users groups. This project brings the ground floor up to the standards that the modern public and paying customer expects.
The capital investment programme was funded partly in-house by Owlerton Stadium, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of A & S Leisure Group, and partly through a grant from the British Greyhound Racing Fund (BGRF). This was secured following the submission of detailed plans and feasibility studies with the BGRF.
Half a million pounds is a big investment for us and it is already paying dividends in terms of the number of spectators, the improvement in atmosphere, the associated spend and the events we can now accommodate.
The decision to make this level of investment into the stadium during these harsh economic times is a strategic measure to enable us to capitalise on improved trading conditions when the economic downturn starts to reverse.
It is a very bold strategy and of course, it carries some risk, but a reduction or cap in reinvestment is not an option for us. The investment initiative is not just essential in a business of this kind which deals with paying customers but it is paramount to keep up with our other leisure competitors and the leisure spend.
The stadium, first opened in 1926, underwent a re-fit in 2010 including the construction of a £1.5m panoramic restaurant and bar, which now sits above the Paddock Bar.
Owlerton has seen almost 50,000 fans enjoy the racing and atmosphere at the stadium in the first three months of the year. This is an improvement over last year despite the dreadful weather in March, and at a time when the sport has seen a decline in numbers watching and the closure of several tracks, the most recent being Oxford.
Long term, Owlerton’s future development plans include the replacement of the private executive boxes which overlook the track.