Channel 4 sets out racing plans

UK commercial broadcaster Channel 4 will schedule feature horse races at 3.50pm on Saturday afternoons to coincide with the half-time break in domestic football matches when its new rights deal for UK horse racing commences on January 1.

Carl Hicks, who will produce Channel 4 Racing, told the Guardian newspaper that the broadcaster “wants to put that time into most people’s minds.” He added: “It will be half-time in football matches and, as everyone knows, football is like a big balloon that everyone else has to operate around.”

The broadcaster’s coverage on Saturday afternoons will also be extended from two hours to two-and-a-half hours on Saturdays.

Channel 4 will broadcast racing on 88 days in 2013. The broadcaster is also in talks to acquire rights for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Dubai World Cup events next year.

In March, Channel 4 acquired domestic free-to-air television rights from the Racecourse Media Group, which controls the media rights of 30 British racecourses, for the Royal Ascot, Derby, Grand National and British Champions Day horse racing events from 2013 to 2016.