Channel 4 will take over from the BBC as the home of the Grand National, it’s been confirmed – and the new deal, which takes effect in 2013, will mean C4 becomes the UK’s only terrestrial broadcaster of horse racing.
The new four-year partnership between C4 and Racecourse Media Group will deliver around 90 days a year of horse racing on Channel 4.
As well as the National meeting from Aintree, C4 will also show the Derby and attendant races from Epsom, as well as Royal Ascot – plus big race meetings that were already shown on C4, at Cheltenham, Newbury, York, Chester and Goodwood.
“Over the next four years,” the channel’s announcement said, “Channel 4 will use its distinctive approach to marketing and promotion to bring the sport to committed racing fans and strengthen its relationship with younger and broader audiences alike. Channel 4 will seek to introduce a new innovations and enhancements to the production values of its racing programming over the course of the new rights period.”
BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said: “The BBC are proud of their long heritage of broadcasting horse racing and put in as competitive a bid as possible in the current climate. We still look forward to broadcasting the Grand National next month and then the Derby and Royal Ascot which have special significance in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.”
Slater added: “We are of course disappointed that we have lost the rights, but we are pleased that all the races in the contract remain free to air.”