Channel 4 is poised to sign a £4m deal with Dubai Holding – the owner of Travelodge – to sponsor its racing coverage for the next two years. The partnership will begin at the end of the year when Channel 4’s current sponsorship deal with Tote expires.
Dubai Holding, which is owned by the Dubai Government, has entered “exclusive negotiations” with Channel 4 but is a surprise choice for the coveted sponsorship package. Bookmakers Betfair, Paddy Power and television service provider Satellite Information Services were understood to be among the favourites.
Channel 4 and Dubai Holding are finalising the details of the deal, which will allow Dubai Holding to run idents at the start and end of each show. The arrangement covers 80 days of terrestrial horseracing coverage per year.
It is not yet known if Dubai Holding plans to promote a particular brand with the sponsorship. The company has investments in several leading companies and also owns The Tussauds Group.
Tote pulled out of the sponsorship only seven months into its three-year deal with Channel 4 Racing when chief executive Peter Jones decided to redirect the company’s marketing budget into TV adverts. The introduction of the Gambling Act 2005 on September 1 this year relaxed laws on gambling advertising and made it legal for gambling companies to advertise on TV.