ITV has secured a deal to show close to 100 days of racing each year for another three years from 2021 to 2023.
This is a huge victory for the broadcaster who will host marquee events on the ITV main channel, such as The Cheltenham Festival, the Aintree Grand National Meeting, The Epsom Downs Derby Festival, Royal Ascot, QIPCO British Champions Day, Goodwood Festival, Ebor Festival and the St Leger Festival.
The Opening Show is set to continue every Saturday morning and on each day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Grand National meeting and Royal Ascot.
The Derby went down a treat
The peak viewing figure for the Investec Derby 2020 was over 2.2 million which has been the highest viewing figure for the race since 2012, so it is clear that ITV horse racing is on an upward trend.
ITV Racing’s coverage has seen huge increases in TV audiences during its tenure, with 2020 viewership now 45% higher than in 2016 when Channel Four last held exclusive rights.
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.”
Delia Bushell, Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club, said:
“I’m delighted this new agreement has been reached between British Racing’s rights-holders and ITV.
We look forward to continuing to work with the ITV Racing team to develop the opportunities this excellent free-to-air broadcasting provides us, as we seek to grow in popularity and diversity as a sport in the years ahead.”
Superb news for Ascot
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.”
David Leyden Dunbar, ARC Director of Partnerships, said:
“The whole team at ITV Racing have done a tremendous job of showcasing our sport on terrestrial television since 2017.
“Bringing our biggest meetings and stars to the widest possible audience is of huge importance to the whole industry and we believe that the ITV team are perfectly placed to deliver for the benefit of everyone across racing.”