ITV to Become Home of British Horse Racing


LONDON: British horse racing is slated to broadcast on free-to-air television in the U.K. exclusively on ITV for four years beginning in 2017.

ITV has picked up the rights to air nearly 100 days of racing each year. The agreement comprises all of the marquee events on the main ITV channel, including the Cheltenham Festival, the Crabbie’s Grand National Meeting from Aintree, the Investec Derby Festival from Epsom Downs, Royal Ascot and QIPCO British Champions Day from Ascot, tge Qatar Goodwood Festival, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival from York and the Ladbrokes St Leger from Doncaster. ITV will show a minimum of 34 fixtures on the main channel and 60 on ITV4, in addition to a magazine preview program broadcasting every Saturday morning on ITV4. The deal will be effective from January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2020.

Richard FitzGerald, the chief executive of Racecourse Media Group (RMG), said: “ITV has made a strong and compelling four-year commitment to British horse racing. ITV places itself at the heart of popular culture and we look forward to working closely with the broadcaster in ensuring racing remains in this fantastic shop window.

“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.

“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.”

Niall Sloane, ITV’s director of sport, added: “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. ITV and ITV4 will showcase more than 90 days of races, which include some of the best days in the British sporting calendar and 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.”