Re: Pay tv rights of Ascot racecourse going from RUK to Sky Sports Racing.
Well, ITV really are bitter about the new pay tv rights deal. This from the Racing Post, written by Lee Mottershead (mods- not nicking paid content - this article is freely readable on the RP website)
The fury felt by ITV over Ascot's decision to sign a broadcast deal with Sky is expected to be made public after it emerged the sport's mainstream television partner plans to punish the royal racecourse by dropping plans to show the Shergar Cup on its main channel.
In a remarkable development, it is understood ITV director of sport Niall Sloane has reversed his earlier decision to promote the international jockeys competition from the slot it held last year on ITV4. It was announced only on Monday that the Dubai Duty Free-backed Shergar Cup would be given the prestigious position of an ITV main channel home on August 11.
However, within 24 hours of that announcement Sloane and other senior ITV Sport figures were left stunned on being informed by Ascot it had opted to end its association with Racing UK and instead revive its old relationship with At The Races, which will next year be rebranded as Sky Sports Racing.
ITV let it be known on Tuesday that it viewed Ascot's move – which was organised by the track's chief commercial officer Juliet Slot – as "bizarre. The network, which replaced Channel 4 as the home of free-to-air racing in Britain at the start of 2017, is known to be angry given Sky was one of the rivals for ITV's current four-year contract.
Industry sources believe Sky Sports Racing – which will have Ascot as the jewel in its crown from March 2019 – will again bid for the next set of mainstream rights.
ITV has also noted Ascot's arrangement with Sky Sports Racing lasts for less than two years and comes up for renewal at the end of 2020, which is exactly when its own contract expires.
Asked about the Shergar Cup situation, Ascot director of racing Nick Smith said: "Scheduling matters are in the hands of ITV.
Couple of points. Well done ITV. Lashing out at Ascot, when they've been very accomdating for the Royal Festival for you. Next year, you might not have your wirecam over the paddock, or be allowed to introduce the singsong at 6pm in the bandstand.
Also, spotting the end of your rights with the RHA, and the end of the Ascot deal with SSR/ATR, is just a little paranoid? The deal is with the RHA collectively with the other UK tracks, so Ascot is one very posh cog in the chain.
But, Sky bidding for the 'mainstream' rights? Sky will try and get the rights off ITV when they are up for renewal in a couple of years time? You'd hope UK horse racing sees a little sense and recongnises the value of having the sport FTA via ITV and ITV4 for 100 odd days per year, and going behind a 'bundle' pay wall would be pretty rubbish for the sport.
But, then, that didn't stop Irish Horse Racing taking the money and shafting ATR earlier this year and going with RUK- who at the moment have revealed precisely nothing about how they are going to cover Irish racing when all the afternoon/evening action (upto 3 meetings) is coming from this side of the Irish sea and will lead to race coverage pile-ups, and very little build up - something that they get acres of at the moment with ATR.
My user name might look like Hatton Cross, but it's pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove.