Channel 4 pips BBC at the post to racing

Channel 4 is to step up marketing of its racing portfolio after outbidding the BBC to become the exclusive terrestrial broadcaster of British horse racing for the next four years.

channel 4 racing

The BBC will now direct funds towards keeping sporting events such as Formula One and the Six Nations rugby union tournament, both of which it shares the broadcasting rights with Sky.

Channel 4 says it will use its “distinctive approach to marketing and promotion” to bring the sport to committed racing fans and to strengthen its relationship with younger and broader audiences. It will launch a marketing campaign to promote its racing portfolio “in due course”.

The broadcaster says it will also seek to introduce new innovations and enhancements to the production values of its racing programming over the four year course of the rights period.

The deal will allow brands to place advertisements alongside the most popular race meetings of the season, bringing increased revenues to British racing and the broadcaster.

Jamie Aitchinson, Channel 4’s sports editor, says: “This is an opportunity for us to work together to grow the sport, painting the full picture of both the flat and jumps seasons to attract new viewers whilst rewarding those loyal viewers we value so highly.”

The four-year deal, which is thought to be worth more than £20m, allows Channel 4 to broadcast popular race meetings including the John Smith’s Grand National, the Investec Derby Festival, Royal Ascot and the QIPCO British Champions Day.

These events will sit alongside Channel 4’s established coverage of the Cheltenham Festival, Newbury, Chester, York, Goodwood and the Flat Season QIPCO British Champions Series.

Radio rights for racing are still subject to negotiations.

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