At The Races, the broadcaster which has been at the forefront of horse racing for the bet part of two decades, is undergoing a rather heavy duty makeover in the coming months.
The brand will be relaunched as Sky Sports Racing at the start of 2019, with two new tracks at Chester and Bangor added to their roster. It will be the first time that ATR action will be broadcast in HD.
As one door opens, another closes. It has also been announced that At The Races, as we will know them for the time being, have lost the media rights to their Irish meetings to Racing UK.
Going is Good for Sky in Relaunching Racing Coverage
It has been quite some time since Sky had their own branded racing content, but with At The Races being at the forefront of the industry it makes sense for the firm to undergo a timely name change.
The channel will be available to all Sky customers at no extra cost, and it is believed they will cover in excess of 650 meetings per year including those held at the ATR sanctioned courses at Doncaster, Chepstow, Newcastle and Windsor.
And the addition of Chester and Bangor to the ranks is seen as a major coup given the loss of Irish coverage from the start of 2019 onwards.
Chester is the oldest racecourse in the UK, and still plays host to a number of key meetings including the Boodles festival in May, which has played host to a number of Derby, Oaks and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winners in recent years.
Sky Sports’ managing director, Barney Francis, said: “We’ve seen a great reaction from our customers to launching dedicated sports channels and this takes us to another level.
“Horse racing is a massive sport that Sky has been involved in for two decades, now we will have a channel to give our customers more of what they love every day.
“Adding Chester and Bangor-on-Dee is fantastic news and we look forward to making Sky Sports Racing a new home for racing fans.”
Irish Eyes No Longer Smiling for At The Races
As At The Races undergoes its huge overhaul and welcomes two new courses to their portfolio, they will also be mourning the loss of all Irish action – and to make matters worse, it is to their huge rivals at Racing UK.
The Racecourse Media Group firm has penned a deal with Sports Information Services, who hold the rights to racing in Ireland, that will see them broadcast live from the Emerald Isle’s 26 venues.
At The Races’ Matthew Imi said: “Naturally we are disappointed that our relationship with Irish racing will be coming to an end and, of course, we wish the sport well with the path it has chosen to take from next year.
“The focus for us is continuing to grow and diversify our own business and the exciting plans we have for the future of ATR remain very much on track.”
The deal signed by the Racecourse Media Group will last until 2023.