ITV renews UK horse racing rights until 2023

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has renewed its exclusive free-to-air broadcast rights deal for British horse-racing events until 2023 after protracted negotiations.

The three-year deal, which starts in 2021, was agreed with rights-holders the Racecourse Media Group, Ascot and Arena Racing Company.

ITV will pay between £8m (€8.7m/$10.3m) and £9m per year for the rights, up from the £7.5m per year it pays in its current deal for the 2017-20 cycle, according to the Racing Post.

ITV is expected to continue to have an obligation to show 94 days of British racing each year under the renewal. All the main events will be broadcast on the flagship ITV channel, while most others will be on men’s-orientated channel ITV4.

Talks over a new rights contract began in April last year and their duration has surprised the industry. The process was not helped by a wrangle between ITV and the rights-holders over a £1.5m rebate sought by the broadcaster after the cancellation of this year’s Grand National as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.