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Digital media expert Ruibal joins Horse & Country TV board

Claude Ruibal, the experienced digital sports media executive, has joined the board of Horse & Country TV (H&C), the international equestrian sports network.

Ruibal, who left the Infront agency at the end of 2019, has been added to a board that includes Heather Killen, chief executive and chairman of H&C, and Jeff Kupsky, previously Turner Broadcasting System’s president in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Killen said: “We are delighted that Claude has agreed to join the H&C board at this pivotal time in the company’s development. His experience in both consumer facing sports media, and in working with rights-holders to maximise their reach, return and reputation, will be of tremendous value to the business.”

The American broadcast executive left his role as Infront’s senior vice-president of digital, production and sport solutions amid a restructure at the Zug-based agency and to “pursue new projects”. He was also chairman of HBS, Infront’s host broadcast subsidiary, and sat on the board of iX.co, Infront’s digital media solutions company.

He remarked: “Equestrian is a key component of the sports media landscape, with a passionate and currently underserved fan and participant community that wants access to watch high level competition, and also consume surrounding content about the riders, the horses and how to improve their own skills as participants.

“H&C is creating the leading lifestyle destination for both sports and non-sports content, that will be the global home for equestrian sport.”

Ruibal joined Infront in May 2016. He was previously global head of sports content at Google/YouTube and chairman and chief executive of Universal Sports Television Network. He rose to prominence in the digital streaming space in 2006 when he co-founded World Championship Sports Network, the US sports streaming platform in which NBC Universal acquired a stake in 2008 (leading to the rebrand as Universal Sports).

Ruibal’s career in sport has also included spells at GoPro and Coca-Cola.

The London-based H&C recently acquired US equestrian streaming provider EQ Sports Net (EQSN) and subscribers to H&C can now watch all the live events streamed by EQSN plus H&C’s premium linear channel and 1,200 hours of on-demand programming for a monthly price of $9.99 (€9.12).

The EQSN output added to a H&C programming line-up that already included the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping, the Longines Lumühlen Horse Trials, and the London International Horse Show from Olympia.