By Simon Jackson.
The Crabbie’s Grand National, Timico Cheltenham Festival and Investec Derby will next year be shown on ITV after the broadcaster won the tender process to exclusively provide free-to-air horse racing for a four year term.
ITV will replace current presenter Channel 4 in a new deal that starts on January 1, 2017 to show almost 100 days racing each year that also includes Royal Ascot, QIPCO British Champions Day, the Qatar Goodwood Festival, Ebor Festival and Ladbrokes St Leger.
ITV also revealed on their website that they will show a minimum of 34 fixtures on ITV main channel and 60 on ITV4, in addition to a magazine preview programme broadcast each Saturday morning on ITV4.
“ITV is delighted to be the home of British horseracing from 2017 and we are thrilled that the sport has chosen us to be their partners,” Niall Sloane, ITV director of sport, said.
“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.”
The boosts ITV’s portfolio of world-class sports rights and Richard FitzGerald, chief executive of Racecourse Media Group (RMG), who headed racing’s negotiating team, believes it is a great chance to further enhance the profile of horse racing in the UK.
“ITV has made a strong and compelling four-year commitment to British horse racing,” FitzGerald said. “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.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.