ASCOT WILL reduce crowd numbers at this summer’s landmark royal meeting in an attempt to offer racegoers an ‘improved experience’. The move follows feedback from customers who attended a smaller scale Royal Ascot in 2021, when the daily attendance was capped at 12,000 and the meeting was part of a UK government trial to bring back crowds after the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Officials at the track described the reduction of numbers as a “long term ambition” and the capacity in the Royal Enclosure will be reduced by 1,000 people from 13,500 in 2019, while the Royal Enclosure Gardens will be extended to create a new area close to the track.
Capacities for the Queen Anne and Windsor Enclosures will also be reduced by 4,150 and 2,000 people, having catered for 20,750 and 17,000 people in 2019. The total attendance across the three areas will come down from 51,500 in 2019 to 44,100, a fall of 14%.
The enclosure in the middle of the course will be back in operation for the first time since 2019. It has a capacity of 6,500 but that could rise at this year’s meeting (14-18 June), which will mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The meeting was held behind closed doors in 2020.
“We’re really pleased to be making these customer focused changes to Royal Ascot this summer. They’ll provide an improved experience for our racegoers across the three main enclosures, ensuring a more enjoyable atmosphere and better access to facilities throughout the site,” said Felicity Barnard, the track’s commercial director.
“A key message in the feedback last year, when the attendance was limited to 12,000 daily as part of the Events Research Programme, was that people really appreciated the benefit of additional space. “This set us on a journey to look at how we could reduce density to improve comfort across the site going forward in a ‘normal’ scenario.
Incorporating feedback from previous years and other racedays, it became clear we needed to make a fundamental change in terms of the capacities across the site. “This was especially the case in our premier public area: the Queen Anne Enclosure, and reducing the number of people there significantly and investing in improved facilities will deliver a much better environment for people to enjoy the world class racing.
“It’s crucial we protect the unique and very special sense of occasion that people feel when they come to Royal Ascot and we hope that these changes will provide an enhanced experience for all our racegoers. “Ticket sales have been strong since being launched last summer and they will clearly be in higher demand as a result of these changes at what will be a special Royal Meeting in the Platinum Jubilee year.”