Racecourse Media Group rights payments break £100m barrier

Racecourse Media Group, the holding company responsible for media and data rights involving a host of horse-racing destinations, has reported an 18-per-cent increase in payments to its members, with talks taking place over an extension to its deal with UK commercial broadcaster ITV.

RMG’s 37 racecourses, which include those under the Jockey Club banner along with Ascot, Goodwood and York, will receive £109.7m (€127.1m/$141.6m) from RMG’s distribution of media and data rights in 2018.

RMG chairman Roger Lewis reflected on “another productive year”, which generated record financial results for shareholder racecourses. However, he conceded that challenges lie ahead, chiefly through the government’s decision to reduce fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) stakes to £2.

He said in a statement: “Looking forward there are great challenges ahead, particularly with the new FOBT legislation, which will negatively impact the UK LBO (licensed betting office) estate, and significantly reduce the financial contribution from the LBOs to UK racing.

“There is also political and regulatory uncertainty, not only in our country, but across our global territories. However, we feel together, we are well placed to meet these challenges and create the best outcome for our racecourses.”

RMG’s headline media-rights deal is the four year agreement, from 2017 to 2020, with UK commercial broadcaster ITV. Stating that talks had commenced about the next contract, FitzGerald said, according to the Racing Post newspaper: “The audiences that ITV provide to racing create an important shop window for the sport and ITV values the importance of having racing as part of its sports portfolio.

“We are confident that racing and ITV will continue to work harder than ever to expand racing’s shop window and engage with new audiences with innovative production and storytelling.”