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Channel 4 Snags British Horse Racing Rights


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After football, horse racing is the most watched sport on British television,
which is why the fact that Channel 4 has snagged the rights as the sole
broadcaster of the popular sport from 2013 is such a big deal, and no doubt a
big blow for the BBC.

According to reports, following a series of negotiations
with Racecourse Media Group (RMG), The Jockey Club, Ascot Racecourse and British
Champions Series Ltd, Channel 4 Director of Commercial Affairs, Martin Baker
tied up the deal that will see Channel 4 as the sole British horse racing
broadcaster
for at least four years from next year.

Under the terms of Channel 4’s new horse racing deal, the British horse
racing industry will benefit from substantially higher TV revenues then ever
before. In 2011, Channel 4 saw an increase of 5 million viewers from its
domestic coverage of horse racing, and that figure is expected to increase
dramatically when Channel 4 becomes the sole racing broadcaster.

Channel 4 Will Broadcast Such Prestigious Meets as Royal Ascot

Currently broadcast on Britain’s national broadcaster, the BBC, from 2013
Channel 4 will broadcast such prestigious race meetings as Royal Ascot, the
Grand National Meeting from Aintree, British Champions Day from Ascot and the
Derby Festival from Epsom Downs, over and above the 80 days of horse racing it
already has the broadcasting rights for.

Said Channel 4 Chief Creative
Officer, Jay Hunt, ‘We are delighted that Channel 4 is to become the sole
destination for British horse racing after securing such iconic events as Royal
Ascot, the Grand National and the Derby. These will sit alongside our
established coverage of The Cheltenham Festival and major Flat meetings such as
Glorious Goodwood and the Ebor Festival and means we can extend our distinctive
approach to all the crown jewels of the sport.’

No doubt the biggest reason the British horse racing industry opted to go
with Channel 4 is the fact that the TV channel has pledged a sizeable financial
outlay to bolster the industry. In addition, Channel 4 has endeavoured to
improve the production values of its horse racing content, as well as strengthen
its efforts to attract a younger and wider audience to the sport.

Channel 4 Will Offer British Horse Racing in an Innovative Way

Leading the negotiations on behalf of the British horse racing industry was
Racecourse Media Group (RMG) CEO, Richard FitzGerald, who said that Channel 4
had a compelling vision to offer up British horse racing in an innovative new
way, as well as committed to promote the sport more widely in the long-term via
various ‘diverse programming platforms’.

‘Channel 4 has shown a total
commitment to our sport. This new deal will not only deliver increased revenues
for British racing, but put all of our sport’s crown jewels in its portfolio,’
said FitzGerald. ‘The BBC has been a fantastic partner for British racing and
helped the sport to grow its attendances and TV audience in recent times.’

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