Attheraces signs marketing chief

Attheraces, the horseracing media rights company which operates a digital TV channel and online, TV and telephone betting operations, has appointed Derek Wood as marketing director.

Wood replaces Gavin Bisdee, who left the company in November (MW December 3, 2002) after launching the Attheraces brand in December 2001.

Wood, who previously worked as a consultant for Attheraces shareholder Arena Leisure, has already altered the company’s promotional literature, inserting the word “Bet” before the Attheraces name, with the aim of encouraging consumers to think of the brand as a gambling operation rather than simply a TV channel.

Wood is also reviewing the work of the call centres, which take telephone bets and give advice on how to use the interactive TV service. The service is available on the BSkyB, NTL and Telewest platforms. The company is also widening its range of betting options.

Attheraces, formerly known as Go Racing, has three shareholders: Arena Leisure, BSkyB and Channel 4. In June 2001, they together paid &£307m for ten-year media rights to race coverage from 49 of the UK’s 59 courses.

Attheraces claims it is on course to break even in the second half of 2005, despite a delay in launching its interactive TV betting service last year. Total betting turnover for 2002 was just under &£5m, a figure the company expects to surpass in the first 16 weeks of this year.

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