British horse racing will be exclusively broadcast on ITV in a new four-year deal from January 1 2017, it was announced today.
The channel has won the rights to air nearly 100 days of racing each year, with all of the marquee events set to air on ITV’s main channel. This includes the Cheltenham Festival, the Crabbie’s Grand National Meeting from Aintree, Royal Ascot and QIPCO British Champions Day from Ascot and the Investec Derby Festial from Epsom Downs.
The broadcaster has detailed that there will be a minimum of thirty four fixtures on its main channel, while a further sixty will air on ITV4. Plus, a magazine preview programme will air each Saturday morning on ITV4.
The deal follows ITV’s success last year with exclusive coverage of the Rugby World Cup, the channel also airing 6 Nations Rugby for the first time from next month. Euro 2016 will follow in the summer.
“ITV is delighted to be the home of British horse racing from 2017 and we are thrilled that the sport has chosen us to be their partners," said Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport.
"We want our coverage to reach not only its loyal, core audience, but beyond, by capturing the full enjoyment of this most wonderful of sports," he continued.
Richard FitzGerald, Chief Executive of Racecourse Media Group (RMG), who headed racing’s negotiating team, which included UK racecourses and British Champions Series, added:
“This is a great opportunity for everyone in the industry to support ITV in jointly promoting the sport and telling the stories throughout the year to as wide an audience as possible. The unprecedented level of interest in the tender shows what an attractive proposition the sport is. This is reflected in the new deal, which will generate increased revenues for racing.
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“We would like to thank Channel 4 for the huge support they have given horse racing over the years, and particularly their investment in coverage over the last three years. Channel 4 has been a fantastic partner for British racing and we look forward to continuing to work together in delivering a captivating and enthralling year ahead.”