Sky Sports has unveiled its plans for the soon-to-launch Sky Sports Racing channel, which will replace At The Races from 1st January 2019.
The channel will be available in HD for the first time and produced from Sky Sports’ Osterley headquarters, according to plans revealed at a launch event at the West London studios.
Sky Sports Racing will be the satellite pay-tv broadcaster’s 11th sports channel and the fifth dedicated to a single sport. It will be available to all Sky TV customers in the UK and Ireland.
Sky Sports plans to leverage cross-promotion opportunities across its other channels to extend audience reach.
Speaking at the launch, Matthew Imi, chief executive of At The Races said: “We believe Sky Sports Racing will be a game changer for the sport with a significant investment in production raising the bar for daily coverage of horseracing.
“Importantly, broad distribution and cross promotion across Sky Sports’ broadcast and digital platforms will deliver significant exposure and audience for those domestic and international fixtures we will be covering.
“We’re looking forward to getting started and showing race fans in the coming months some of the new programming and innovations that will complement our daily racing coverage.”
The event provided Sky Sports with the opportunity to showcase its new dedicated Sky studio facility and the line-up of presenters that will front the channel’s coverage.
Alex Hammond arrives as a full-time lead presenter, bringing more than 15 years’ experience from Sky Sports News.
He will be joined by figures including former jockey Freddy Tylicki as a guest analyst and former head of the professional Jockeys Association Josh Apiafi. Jamie Lynch is to leave his post as chief correspondent at Timeform to become Sky Sports Racing’s senior racing analyst.
The line-up will be supplemented by a number of familiar faces from At The Races, including Gina Bryce, Kevin Blake, Matt Chapman, Mick Fitzgerald, Luke Harvey, Hayley Moore and Jason Weaver.
In addition, the Sky Sports Racing presenting team will also feature the likes of John Hunt, Mike Cattermole, Sean Boyce, Zoey Bird, Martin Kelly, Simon Mapletoft, Anthony Ennis, Darrell Williams, Robert Cooper and John Blance.
The new channel has already reached several high-profile broadcast rights agreements across both domestic and international meetings.
It will broadcast over 700 UK fixtures in full HD to approximately 14 million homes. Meetings will include Ascot, Chester and Bangor-on-Dee and Sky Sports Racing viewers will also be able to watch over 200 French Fixtures; the Breeders’ Cup, Kentucky Derby and US Triple Crown; the Melbourne Cup Carnival; and all 88 fixtures from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, exclusive to Sky Sports Racing.
In addition, attheraces.com will now become the digital partner to Sky Sports Racing, providing a range of data to the channel whilst Sky Sports Racing presenters and talent will make regular contributions to attheraces.com alongside the existing team.