The 2024 Grand National was safer and just as exciting, say Brits
May 10th, 2024, Rishad Dsouza

The 2024 Grand National was safer and just as exciting, say Brits

A YouGov poll conducted between 18-19 April looks at the proportion of Britons that watched the Grand National 2024 and their opinions on the event with respect to matters such as rider and animal welfare and betting.

Safety has been a major concern around the Grand National, both of horses and jockeys. The organisers have made attempts to make the race safer, and the 2024 edition featured a significant number of adjustments, including a reduction in the number of runners to 34 from last year’s 40. But do UK consumers feel enough is being done?

Looking at those who watched/followed or read about the 2024 event, concerns do linger with 62% saying they worry about the welfare of horses and jockeys in the race. That said, 58% said they felt the race was safer this year and only 5% disagreed.

But did the changes to make the race safer result in a decline in derived excitement? Not really. In fact, 42% of those who watched the event either live or on highlights said that it was a more exciting race than those they’ve seen in previous years, and only 12% disagreed with the statement. Additionally, 55% specifically said they weren’t disappointed about the reduction in the number of runners.

An overwhelming majority of Grand National watchers also say they are glad that measures are being taken to prioritise safety (83%).

Betting, of course, is another hot topic that comes up when discussing horse racing. The poll also questioned consumers about their thoughts on young people aged under 18 placing small bets with their parents. 59% of those who watched or followed the Grand National say they don’t mind the practice. 45% of everyone who has ever heard about the Grand National also agree with the statement, although over a quarter of them (27%) disagree.

How many watched or followed the Grand National?

About 35% of respondents say they watched or followed the event, either live or caught up with it later via highlights or in the newspaper. Among those who watched or followed the event, the biggest share by far did so by watching it live on TV or streaming either at their own place or a friend/family’s house (45%). Another 6% said they watched it live at a pub or hotel, while 2% said they watched it live at a betting shop and 4% said they watched it elsewhere.

But a quarter of them didn’t follow it live, instead reading about it later in a newspaper or online (26%). About an eighth of consumers said they didn’t watch it live but caught up on highlights online (13%).

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YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 18-19 April 2024, with a nationally/ representative sample of 2082 adults (aged 18+ years) in Great Britain, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education and social grade to be representative of all adults in Great Britain (18 years or older) and reflect the latest ONS population estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.