IMG to Produce Channel 4’s Horseracing Coverage in 2013

August 13, 2012

IMG Sports Media have been announced as the new producers of Channel 4’s racing coverage from January 2013.

The new four-year agreement will see former BBC racing presenter Clare Balding take a leading role in coverage of meetings such as the Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot and the Grand National.

The deal, in operation from January 2013 until December 2016, runs alongside Channel 4’s four-year media agreement with Racecourse Media Group.

In addition, Channel 4 Racing sponsors, Dubai, have signed a new four-year extension deal until 2016.

Under the new contract IMG Sports Media will produce around 90 days a year of live terrestrial horseracing coverage in addition to the Morning Line.

Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer, said: “With the expertise of IMG Sports on board, I’m hugely excited about the future of racing on Channel 4.”

Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4’s sports editor, added: “After a rigorous and invaluable tender process, I am looking forward immensely to working with IMG Sports Media to deliver our vision for the sport.

“Their pitch was compelling and crucially contained deep racing expertise allied to innovative broadcasting proposals.

“The winning bid hails the arrival of a new era in broadcasting for the sport at a time when the industry is moving forwards with real momentum. The hard work starts now as we head towards 2013 and the exciting challenges ahead.

“Clare’s arrival is superb news for Channel 4 and the production team.

“I would also like to thank Dubai for their continued support and we look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship to deliver the programming that their commitment deserves.

“It is also fitting at this point to thank Highflyer TV for everything they have done for Channel 4 and British horseracing over many years.”

IMG’s managing director sports production worldwide Graham Fry said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as Channel 4’s production partner for horse racing in the UK for the next four years.

“This is a unique and exciting opportunity to bring a fresh approach to an outstanding portfolio of race days, many of them iconic sporting events.

“IMG has hand-picked an outstanding team of experienced and talented production professionals with vast expertise covering the sport.

“This allied to our strong in-house creative talent who have worked on major sporting events around the globe, will ensure that race viewers see a new and enhanced approach to the overall horse racing experience.”

IMG has committed to introduce a range of innovations including graphical enhancements, while they are planning to relaunch the Channel 4 racing website as well as building new footings on other digital platforms.

The programme sponsors are more than happy to renew their deal.

John Ferguson, bloodstock advisor to the ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed, said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has supported British horseracing for many years and has always felt that strong terrestrial television coverage is crucial to the sport’s popularity in the UK.

“As Channel 4 Racing becomes the home of all racing for the British public, His Highness has made the decision that Dubai will continue to be the broadcast sponsor for the period 2013- 2016.

“Since 2008, when the sponsorship started, we have seen a growth in viewership and we look forward to the future.”