Executives at Sky Sports have revealed further details of the relaunch of the At The Races horse racing service as Sky Sports Racing, set to go live on January 1st 2019, making it the 11th Sky Sports channel.
Matthew Imi, CEO of At The Races, said that fully becoming part of the Sky family would enable it benefit from the broadcaster’s scale, particularly in terms of its partnerships and products, with the January 1st launch marking the first time the service would be available in HD, as opposed to SD. He saw the move as an opportunity to take racing to a wider audience. “We have the capability to elevate events across a full range of channels, products, digital platforms and initiatives.”
The channel will benefit from new, dedicated studio facilities at Sky’s Osterley base, with a range of automated production techniques. “It’s not just about saving head-count; we were very lean anyway. It will improve workflow,” suggested Rob Dakin, Executive Producer, adding that the operation had benefited from “substantial investment” by Sky and the Board.
Bringing horse racing into the same family of channels such as football, cricket and F1 meant that the service had to “raise the bar” around its standard coverage, with a number of initiatives such as start line cameras, ‘slo-mo’ finish line cameras and the Sky Pad for analysis of key moments.
Since the April 2018 announcement that Sky Sports Racing would replace At The Races, the newly-formed channel has reached several high-profile broadcast rights agreements. Meetings from Ascot, Chester and Bangor-on-Dee Racecourses will be broadcast from March 2018 along with some of the world’s finest racing. Sky Sports Racing viewers will be able to watch over 200 French Fixtures; the Breeders’ Cup, Kentucky Derby and US Triple Crown; the Melbourne Cup Carnival; and all 88 fixtures from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, exclusive to Sky Sports Racing.
Sky Sports Racing will be Sky’s fifth sports channel dedicated to a single sport. The channel will broadcast over 700 UK fixtures in full HD to approximately 14 million homes and will be available to all basic satellite and cable subscription packages, with no Sky Sports subscription required.