ITV will continue as the exclusive free-to-air broadcaster of British horse racing until 2023.
ITV, which has shown racing exclusively since 2017, has secured the rights to show nearly 100 days of racing each year for a further three years from 2021. The deal includes all the marquee events on ITV main channel, such as The Festival at Cheltenham presented by Magners, the Randox Health Grand National Meeting from Aintree, The Derby Festival from Epsom Downs, Royal Ascot and QIPCO British Champions Day from Ascot, Qatar Goodwood Festival, Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival from York and the St Leger Festival from Doncaster.
The ITV Racing team, led by Ed Chamberlin, along with co-presenter Francesca Cumani, will bring to viewers comprehensive coverage across ITV’s main channel, ITV4 and the ITV Hub, which can be accessed on all mobile devices.
As part of the deal, the Opening Show, ITV Racing’s magazine preview programme, will continue each Saturday morning and on each day at the Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National meeting and Royal Ascot.
The announcement follows a successful return to racing in June following many weeks during which the sport was paused for the lockdown period.
During this time, Royal Ascot, despite the absence of the traditional pageantry, drew eight-year high figures each day, the peak viewing figure for the Investec Derby 2020 was over 2.2 million, the highest viewing figure for the race since 2012, and most recently Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori’s record-breaking fourth success in the Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup last week was watched by over a million people on the first day of ‘Glorious Goodwood’ 2020.
Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said: “ITV is delighted to announce the continuation of free to air coverage of a sport that is loved and followed by so many. To do so following a successful resumption of the sport with wide audiences returning to our coverage after such a long lay-off is particularly welcome and we look forward to bringing the very best this wonderful sport has to offer to viewers over the next few years.”
Richard FitzGerald, Chief Executive of Racecourse Media Group (RMG), said: “ITV has been a terrific partner for British horseracing over the last three years and ITV has earned the right to renew the contract for a further three years. Its award-winning productions are reflected with increased audiences, in contrast to wider TV audience trends, and they have succeeded in attracting a new, younger audience, without alienating in any way the existing fanbase. We look forward to working closely with the broadcaster in ensuring racing remains in this fantastic shop window provided by ITV and all its platforms. I’d also like to thank all the sport’s participants, particularly the jockeys, for the positive roles they have played in engaging with the ITV coverage.”
Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer, Ascot Racecourse, said: “The extension of our highly successful terrestrial partnership with ITV is great news for Ascot. It is a pleasure to be a part of this award-winning partnership with ITV which has seen continued growth of audiences across all our race meetings. We look forward to the next three years’ working together to bring Ascot’s racing to existing and new audiences across the ITV portfolio of platforms.”