Newmarket wins TV deal

A DEAL has been signed which will secure the terrestrial TV rights for horseracing at Newmarket, following the demise of racing channel Attheraces.It was announced yesterdaythat the Racecourse Holdings Trust (RHT), which owns Newmarket's Rowley Mile and July courses along with many of the UK's other major racecourses had signed a deal with Channel 4.

A DEAL has been signed which will secure the terrestrial TV rights for horseracing at Newmarket, following the demise of racing channel Attheraces.

It was announced yesterdaythat the Racecourse Holdings Trust (RHT), which owns Newmarket's Rowley Mile and July courses along with many of the UK's other major racecourses had signed a deal with Channel 4.

The precise details of the deal have yet to be released but a spokesman for Newmarket Racecourses said that it had been confirmed that the deal will start from July and will secure live coverage of racing for an 18 month period.

Racecourse managing director Lisa Hancock said: "All our existing coverage will continue which is great news for us and particularly for our sponsors as terrestrial TV coverage was a key benefit for many of them.


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"We are delighted to continue with Channel 4, we have always had a great relationship with their team who we have come to know so well and it will give us that all important continuity."

A spokesman for the RHT, a subsidiary of racing's governing body the Jockey Club, said: "RHT has taken this decision having made a full assessment of Channel 4's offer against a range of interest expressed by other broadcasters in RHT's portfolio of racecourses which did not provide the overall coverage which RHT belives is essential for the sport."

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The new deal also covers Sandown, Newbury and Cheltenham, but a deal has yet to be struck for some of the RHT's other courses.

The spokesman added: "Discussion with other broadcasters regarding from Aintree, Epsom and Haydock Park from July 1 are ongoing and RHT is unable to comment on the detailed negotiations that have taken place to date."

RHT managing director Richard Johnston said: "Channel 4 has played a key role in championing horseracing and in raising the profile of a sport with an expanding audience and we are delighted to continue our 20 year relationship with them."

TV coverage was renegotiated after the collapse of a £307 million ten year deal with the Attheraces consortium for coverage of 49 racecourses signed in 2002.

The consortium, which consisted of BSkyB, Channel 4 and Arena Leisure, had signed the deal on the strength of income from interactive betting, which failed to live up to expectations.

Channel 4, which is regarded as the mainstay of TV racing, had earlier threatened to withdraw from horseracing altogether if it lost the rights to show the Cheltenham Festival.

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