Changes Ahead For Racing on TV

RTÉ Sport and Horse Racing Ireland announced on the eve of the first Dublin Racing Festival that they have agreed on a new broadcasting deal for increased live coverage of Irish horse racing for the next three years.

Under the new deal, RTÉ will broadcast between 25 and 27 days of live Irish racing television coverage each year for the next three years. The great racing days of all the major festivals will be featured with live television coverage also simulcast on RTÉ Player within the Republic of Ireland.

The major festivals including Punchestown, Galway and the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown will continue to be broadcast live, as well as the biggest races of the year; the Boylesports Irish National from Fairyhouse, the Unibet Gold Cup over jumps and the Quipco Champion Stakes on the flat from Leopardstown as well as the blue riband event of the flat season, the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby from the Curragh.

In addition, this year will also see live coverage of an extra day’s racing from the Fairyhouse Easter Festival on Tuesday 3 April, as well as the Winter Festival from the same venue including the Hatton’s Grace Hurdle on Sunday 2 December. In 2019 and 2020, there will be further additional coverage from Gowran Park and the redeveloped Curragh.

“This new enhanced agreement is a statement of intent for RTÉ underlining our continued commitment to Irish racing,” said RTÉ Head of Sport Ryle Nugent.

“Irish horse racing coverage continues to be a priority for us and is an important part of our public service broadcasting remit.”

“In addition to our increased live television coverage, there will also continue to be extensive coverage of Irish racing on RTÉ radio sport programming and RTÉ.ie/Sport will continue to provide all the latest news, racecards and results.”

“We have enjoyed a long and fruitful association with RTÉ Sport, and I am delighted that relationship has now been formally extended for another three years and that there will be an increased number of meetings covered.” added Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland.

“It’s a relationship that goes beyond RTÉ television really, because I know Irish racing is cherished on RTÉ’s other platforms – be it Radio, News, Online, or RTÉ Player – and I am very excited about RTÉ’s future plans for their coverage of racing here in Ireland – beginning with their extended coverage of this weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival.”

There will be further substantial changes in the television coverage of Irish racing with the confirmation expected this week that coverage of all racing here on satellite television to the UK and Irish markets will switch from ‘AtTheRaces’ to the subscription service Racing UK.

The rights to Irish racing were sold to Satellite Information Services who sell on to betting shops and satellite TV channels and this deal is expected to be in place for the start of 2019.

The existing deal generates around €5,500 for each race run in Ireland and runs until 2023.

Racing UK is owned by a collective of major UK tracks including Cheltenham, Aintree and Epsom.

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Image Credit: Ryan Byrne, Inpho Photography

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