BBC resigned to losing horse racing rights to Channel 4

UK public-service broadcaster the BBC is resigned to losing the domestic free-to-air rights for the Royal Ascot, Derby and Grand National horse racing events to commercial broadcaster Channel 4, according to reports.

The Guardian said that Channel 4 had offered £15 million (€17.9 million/$23.4 million) for the rights over three years, from 2013 to 2015 – double the £7.5 million paid by the BBC in its current three-year deal, from 2010 to 2012.

“We’re very proud of our heritage in racing but it had to come to an end at some point,” an unnamed BBC source told the Daily Telegraph. “Something had to go and it was the horse racing. We can’t expect to have all our rights forever because it’s a changing world.”

The BBC has been under pressure to reduce its budget by 20 per cent by 2017 due to a government-imposed licence-fee freeze.