Racing Confirms Broadcast Switch

Irish horse racing is to leave the satellite channel AtTheRaces at the end of 2018 and switch to the subscription channel Racing UK operated by Racecourse Media Group.

The change comes about under the existing broadcast rights agreement which Horse racing Ireland has with Satellite Information Services which is now extended to include direct-to-home coverage and streaming rights to all Irish racecourses.

The deal is worth an estimated €5,500 for every race run in Ireland and is a significant contributor to the financial well-being of the sport.

Last Friday Horse racing Ireland and RTÉ Sport announced a new three year deal with an expanded amount of Irish racing being broadcast free to air into Irish homes.

“This deal is a very positive one and is in the best commercial interests of Irish racing. It will guarantee vital income streams for each of our 26 racecourses until the end of 2023.”

“We are conscious of the concerns that have been raised but are confident that this arrangement is in the overall best interests of the Irish racing industry.”

“We look forward to working with RMG and SIS to address any concerns and to ensure that the coverage of Irish racing is of the highest possible standard.”

“This deal is a very positive one and is in the best commercial interests of Irish racing. It secures income streams for media rights for the next six years and aligns all of our rights across all platforms with the same strong partners.”

“The bulk of those income streams will go to racecourses with the balance going to Horse Racing Ireland – but all of the income will go back into Irish racing. The benefits of this deal will be seen across the entire industry.”

“This deal is a very positive one and is in the best commercial interests of Irish racing. It will guarantee vital income streams for each of our 26 racecourses until the end of 2023.”

“This deal means we have moved from a situation of uncertainty in relation to direct to home, streaming and international rights, to arrangements that now have been agreed and locked down until the end of 2023.”

“I would like to thank Attheraces for their positive contribution to Irish racing and wish them every success going forward.”

The concerns relate primarily to the ever-changing definition of ‘subscription’ TV. Attheraces is broadcast at no additional charge to subscribers to Sky and as such would have a wider reach into homes in England and Ireland than Racing UK which charges an additional monthly premium of €30.

The channel will be rebranded in time for the switch next January with The racing Channel thought to be the favoured option.

Irish racing will account for approximately one-third of the output on the new channel, down from around half of what it contributed to Attheraces.

That channel has lost eight of the tracks it previously broadcast from the UK at its peak and the loss of the Irish racing means it is now down to 22 tracks as opposed to the 63 that will now be shown on Racing UK.

Among the benefits of the deal as outlined by the winner yesterday will be the fact that all Irish racing will now be broadcast in HD for the first time

“I’ve been associated with Racing UK for eight years now and can vouch first-hand for their high-quality production and presentation values,” said Ruby Walsh, 12 times Irish Champion Jockey and a regular on the service.

“Racing UK’s in-depth, insightful, and extensive coverage of the major British festivals is the template for other broadcasters to follow, and it never ceases to amaze me how much hard work, research and enthusiasm goes into each production. I can assure you Irish racing will be showcased brilliantly on Racing UK HD.”

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Image Credit: Ryan Byrne, Inpho Photography.

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