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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Ascot could return to At The Races as part of commercial rights shake-up

Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson
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Ascot could return to At The Races after the track asked interested parties to make them offers over three sets of media and betting rights, including pay TV.

Aside from those pay TV rights, Ascot's rights for international betting media and data, which sit with Racecourse Media Group, and UK streaming all come up for renewal in March next year.

Ascot went its own way when the majority of Britain's racecourses formed a project to offer pool betting from July this year, and the course is again ploughing its own furrow.

It intends introducing a multi-faceted model in which its pay TV rights could sit with ATR, while other rights would be with RMG. The course switched to Racing UK from ATR in 2014.

Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson said: "Given the development of the sports' rights markets in recent years, there are a range of opportunities, domestic and international and exclusive and non-exclusive, which we wish to explore fully.

"Ascot needs more flexibility and control in the management of its commercial media and data rights than is available under the current arrangements.  

"While they will remain the best option for many racecourses, both independent- and group-owned, the nature of Ascot’s business needs a more diverse matrix of partnerships and collaborations."

Standing out: runners break away from the stalls from their new starting position in the Queen’s Vase on the fourth day of Royal Ascot

He added: "Ascot’s returns are invested for the benefit of horsemen, our racegoers and off-course followers – both in the UK and internationally – and commercial success for Ascot will continue to directly benefit, and help attract that all-important international investment and participation in, British racing.

"Accordingly, we are this week issuing requests for proposals from a number of potential media and data rights partners in relation to these three sets of rights.

"Once the process is complete later this year we will announce the outcome."

Ascot's betting shop media rights as part of the RMG-SIS deal and the ITV terrestrial TV rights with RMG and Arena Racing Company are unaffected.

The move follows a strategic review begun in 2016 which is being led by Ascot's chief commercial officer Juliet Slot. 

Ascot is also in the final stages of appointing a new head of digital and broadcasting as it looks to strengthen its team.

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Ascot needs more flexibility and control in the management of its commercial media and data rights than is available under the current arrangements

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