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ITV offers up VR coverage of Cheltenham Festival

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has partnered with London-based virtual reality production company VR City to distribute VR coverage of this week’s Cheltenham Festival horse racing event.

The Cheltenham Festival got underway yesterday (Tuesday) and runs until Friday, with ITV providing daily highlights packages in ultra-high-definition and 360-degree video.

ITV is posting the content to its official pages on social media platform Facebook and video-sharing website YouTube at 7pm GMT each day.

VR City will capture 4K footage of the action through strategically placed cameras at the starting and finishing lines, the jump fences and the winner’s parades.

It is hoped the initiative will provide viewers with a behind-the-scenes look of the festival, which marks ITV’s first major horse-racing broadcast since becoming the exclusive free-to-air home of the sport in the UK at the beginning of the year.

In January 2016, ITV signed a four-year deal, from 2017 to 2020, to show British horse racing on free-to-air television. ITV dislodged commercial rival Channel 4 as the rights-holder.

The broadcaster will show nearly 100 days of racing each year, with other marquee events to include the Grand National, the Derby, Royal Ascot, British Champions Day, Goodwood Festival, Ebor Festival and the St Leger.