In 2014 Channel 4 will devote more days to horseracing than ever before.
As the channel enters its second year of a four-year media agreement (2013 – 2016), the 2014 broadcast schedule will increase to 90 days with Future Champions Day moving to Friday, 17th October to support the fourth-year running of QIPCO British Champions Day the following day.
The 90 days also include two international contests – the Dubai World Cup and Prix de l’Arc Triomphe.
In 2014, British racing alone will secure over 285 hours of terrestrial coverage on Channel 4 with racing from around the UK taking in some 31 racecourses – with a number of courses securing multiple visits. The annual hours include 63 Morning Line packages for Saturday fixtures and top level-racing such as the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National Meeting, Royal Ascot and King George VI Chase.
Over 2013, Channel 4 Racing has continued to attract new viewers to the sport with over 23 million viewers watching Channel 4 Racing coverage over the year-to-date based on BARB reach figures – almost 40% of the UK population. This figure is up +41% on the same period for Channel 4 Racing in 2012.
Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4’s Sports Editor, says: “In 2014, Channel 4 will broadcast over 528 British races plus the traditional supplements of top Irish contests and extra material such as the earlier Shergar Cup races live on More4. Channel 4 provides unprecedented terrestrial coverage of horseracing which no other sport can boast.
“Our financial investment in racing is matched by our commitment to the sport and we look forward to working with the industry to continue to strengthen our group objectives.”
Richard FitzGerald, CEO of Racecourse Media Group, adds: “The Channel 4 fixture list reinforces the broadcaster’s commitment to the sport. No other country can boast as much racing on terrestrial TV as we enjoy here in the UK. We look forward to working with Channel 4 in further developing horseracing on terrestrial TV.”
Rod Street, Chief Executive of Great British Racing & British Champions Series, says: “We feel extremely positive about racing’s relationship with Channel 4. A key part of the sport’s strategy was to ensure we had consistent, quality coverage of horseracing. With Channel 4 we get 52 Saturdays a year and all our major midweek festivals broadcast. This level of terrestrial coverage is unrivalled worldwide.
“Adding further value, Channel 4 has actively promoted our major meetings this year with innovative adverts, documentaries and special features.
“We did not expect plain sailing in year one, of course, as both the broadcaster and audiences adapted to the new coverage. But we’re confident that both audiences and wider interest – in the sport – will continue to grow and when we can help Channel 4 we will. It’s a partnership.”