Following her top-notch work at the Olympics, esteemed sports presenter Clare Balding has been headhunted by Channel 4 and announced as the broadcaster’s new face of racing.
From January 1st 2013, Balding will take over as lead presenter on all the channel’s racing coverage in the hope that her “expertise and warmth” will entice new audiences to take an interest in the gee-gees. However her deal with C4 is non-exclusive and Balding will remain free to work with her current employers, the BBC.
Jay Hunt, C4’s Chief Creative Officer said: “Clare has shown over the last two weeks at the Olympics why she is rightly acclaimed as one of the UK’s leading broadcasters
“I’m delighted that, in addition to presenting the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Channel 4 this autumn, she will lead our horse racing coverage from 2013.”
Balding herself said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Channel 4 has asked me to be a part of their new racing team. Racing is my ‘home’ sport and I am delighted that I will still be part of its coverage on TV.
“I am excited by Channel 4’s plans for their coverage and the way in which they have committed to expanding the profile of jockeys, trainers and horses.”
The announcement of Balding’s appointment came alongisde news that C4 has signed a four-year deal with IMG Sports Media, awarding them the contract to produce racing on Channel 4, which will include coverage of all the sport’s premium events (such as Royal Ascot and the Grand National) for the first time next year.
Commenting on Balding’s new job, C4’s Sports Editor Jamie Aitchison said: “Clare’s arrival is superb news for Channel 4 and the production team. Quite simply she is the sports broadcaster of her era and for her to be heading up our coverage across the year is extremely exciting.
“Racing fans have a lot to look forward to.”