Following the launch of its sport-specific channel rebrand last year, Sky Sports has confirmed it will now add a channel dedicated to horse racing from next year.
‘Sky Sports Racing’ will replace ‘At The Races’ and will be available to every Sky TV customer in the UK and Ireland at no extra cost, with live racing from over 650 UK fixtures as well as a selection of international race meetings.
Ahead of the launch next year a ten-year deal with Chester Race Company has been signed to bring live racing from Chester and Bangor-on-Dee to Sky Sports Racing from March 2019.
Regularly attracting crowds of up to 30,000 throughout its summer season, Chester also hosts the Boodles May Festival, which saw subsequent winners of the Derby, Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe all racing last year.
Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, 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.”
Richard Thomas, chief executive of Chester Race Company added: “We’re delighted to announce this new deal and long-term partnership. We believe it secures a positive and exciting future for Chester and Bangor-on-Dee Racecourses and fits squarely with our values and ambitions. We know Sky Sports will move the dial in the way our racing is covered but more than that we are excited by the prospect of how we can communicate and promote racing and the Chester brand further. We see real value in what the partnership can bring across TV, digital and social media, for us and for our sponsor partners.
“There is a lot of crossover between our core audiences and an opportunity to extend our reach more broadly via the Sky family of channels including Sky Sports News. We will be working very closely with the teams at Sky Sports and ATR in what will be a genuinely collaborative relationship.”
Sky Sports Racing is the 11th dedicated sports channel, with Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports F1®, Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Cricket, alongside Action and Arena, Main Event, Sky Sports News and Sky Sports Mix all launched last year.
Last week it was revealed that US broadcasting and cable TV giant Comcast had made a £22bn bid for Sky, entering into a bidding war with Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.