Racing UK takes Ascot rights from rival

Racecourse Media Group, the parent company of UK horse racing pay-television channel Racing UK, will distribute Ascot Racecourse’s media rights in the UK and overseas from June 12, 2014.

The addition of Ascot, one of British horse racing’s most famous venues, is a significant signing for Racing UK, which currently broadcasts action from 33 of Britain’s racecourses. The agreement will see racing from Ascot transfer to Racing UK from rival pay-television broadcaster At The Races in time for Ascot’s 2014 meeting.

Charles Barnett, chief executive at Ascot, said: “After careful consideration we have decided to extend our relationship with RMG, with whom we recently negotiated the exclusive terrestrial television contract with Channel 4.”

He added: “Enabling a large percentage of the best of British racing to be promoted by one entity and showcased through one satellite broadcaster mirrors the thinking behind the Channel 4 deal, and it should benefit initiatives like the QIPCO British Champions Series.”

At The Races lost the rights for races at the Exeter, Kelso and Perth racecourses to Racing UK during 2012, and will lose the rights for races at the Folkestone and Hereford racecourses when they are shut down at the end of the year.

At The Races said in a statement last Friday that it is in a strong position despite the loss of Ascot. “No material impact on ATR’s profitability is expected as a result of this decision as the company’s revenue lines continue to grow and diversify,” the broadcaster said.