'RUNNING hard to stand still' and ‘flat' were among the descriptions on Wednesday from leading racing industry professionals after a further decline in average daily attendance at British racecourses was revealed, a figure that in a decade has now dipped by nearly 1,000, reports the Racing Post in UK.

The average per fixture in 2003 was 4,934, off the back of 1,220 fixtures, while last year the average crowd was 3,972, when 1,430 meetings took place, figures released by the Racecourse Association showed.

A total of 5,679,941 people attended a British meeting in 2013, a two per cent increase on the weather-affected figure for 2012 of 5,581,615, which the RCA said meant racing remained the biggest spectator sport after football.

However, the aggregate figure was still the second lowest in recent years and 7.7 per cent down on the record from two years earlier of 6,151,282.

RCA chief executive Stephen Atkin said: "The underlying picture is what I would call flat. It's difficult to do a comparison year-on-year because it's not just whether there are more or fewer fixtures and why there are fewer fixtures, but which fixtures were lost - they are key.

"I am certainly not that sensitive that they went up two per cent in total. They went down on average and that will be a factor in the type of fixtures lost. Last year we lost a bucketload of fixtures, but quite a lot were low-grade during the week, so when you add them back into the mix you're not adding much in terms of people who go.

"When you look at fixtures which have got a similar backdrop, the performance, by and large, is broadly the same as in 2012. I think most sports are in a similar position."