HBA Media distributes Saudi Cup rights in over 100 territories

This weekend’s inaugural edition of the Saudi Cup horse racing event will be aired in over 100 territories after media-rights agency HBA Media struck deals with a number of major broadcasters.

The Saudi Cup, which takes place on Saturday and features a prize fund of $20m (€18.4m), will be distributed as a bespoke one-hour programme entitled The Golden Hour or as a five-hour world feed package produced by the IMG agency and managed by HBA Media.

US pay-television channel Fox Sports 1 will hold exclusive linear rights in the country to The Golden Hour, with online betting network TVG to cover the full undercard. Streaming service FloSports will also provide OTT coverage and there will be coverage in neighbouring Canada on pay-television broadcaster TSN.

Earlier this week, HBA Media struck a short-term deal with FloSports to develop horse racing coverage on the latter’s OTT subscription platforms. HBA Media is working alongside Racecourse Media Group, the holding company responsible for media and data rights distribution to various UK racecourses, to facilitate the distribution of four live horse racing events, including the Saudi Cup, on the FloSports platform.

The project is a soft launch to see how well the streaming is received in a sport that has yet to fully embrace streaming technologies and will be reviewed next month ahead of a possible longer co-operation.

The Saudi Cup will also be covered in the Caribbean by pay-television broadcaster Sports Max, while social media platform Twitter will provide coverage in the Middle East and North Africa.

In the UK, pay-television broadcasters Sky Sports Racing and Racing TV will provide coverage, with telco Virgin Media to cover the event in Ireland. Elsewhere, deals have been struck with Polish commercial broadcaster Polsat, Saran-backed Turkish sports channel S Sport, Russian sports broadcaster Match TV, German online sports channel Sportdeutschland and Georgian telco Silknet.

In Italy, subscription sports broadcaster Eleven Sports and racing channel Teleippica will cover the event, while pay-television broadcaster Sportklub will provide coverage in the Balkan region.

Sports broadcaster ESPN has secured the Spanish-language Saudi Cup rights in Latin America. Meanwhile, pay-television broadcaster SuperSport will air the race in 48 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

In China, coverage will be provided by Shanghai TV, Wuhan TV and Beijing TV, while horse-racing channel The Green Channel will air the event in Japan. Eleven Sports will also cover the event in Taiwan and a deal has also been struck with the Fijian Broadcasting Corporation.

Coverage will be provided in India on the Discovery-owned DSport channel, while an exclusive agreement has been struck with Saudi TV, which will serve as the host broadcaster for the domestic audience.

Racing.com, Australia’s free-to-air horse racing network, will also broadcast The Golden Hour, while further coverage will be provided by Sports Unlimited, SNTV and Reuters.

HBA Media chief executive Henry Birtles said: “The advent of the Saudi Cup represents a huge step forward in the world of top-class international racing. These are exciting times and HBA Media is thrilled to be a part of The Kingdom’s great new venture into the sport.

“Year one broadcast distribution has successfully reflected the significance of this event and we look forward to building on early achievements as Saudi Arabia establishes itself as a global horse racing destination in the years ahead.”