Irish viewers unhappy over viewing options for ITV coverage
Racing fans in Ireland have voiced their frustration that Sandown's Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle card was not shown on terrestrial television on Saturday, despite the fact TV3 has signed a deal with Racecourse Media Group to show ITV Racing this year.
ITV is due to broadcast 94 days of racing in 2017, but TV3 is set to show only 50 of those.
Kieran Holden, head of sport at TV3, said: "We'll show the biggest and best meetings from the UK, including the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals. We're still working on our future programming plans, which we hope to announce shortly."
Holden has previously revealed the channel is in discussions over broadcasting a magazine show from its own TV3 studios, although there is nothing definite on that front, and viewers in Ireland are unable to see ITV4's The Opening Show, which aired for the first time on Saturday.
Never in the pipeline
The Opening Show was never in the pipeline to be shown by TV3, which broadcasts a live feed of ITV Racing pictures.
Armchair terrestrial viewers in Ireland will have to wait until January 28 to see the next racing from Britain, Cheltenham Trials Day, which will air on TV3’s sister channel 3e.
In a letter to the Racing Post, County Offaly resident Liam Riley highlighted that even those with Sky boxes were left in the dark on Saturday.
He said: “Sky previously allowed ITV to be viewed in Ireland under 'other channels', but this facility is not even available to customers with the latest Sky Q boxes.”
A dissatisfied fan
Those with older Sky boxes would have been able to tune in to watch ITV’s coverage on Saturday, although the inability to pause, rewind or record racing remains a problem.
Another dissatisfied fan, Dermot Ryan, wrote to say: "I'm really hacked off. Not with ITV Racing, but with the fact I couldn't see it. Viewers in the Republic of Ireland can't record ITV on Sky and, with a young family, Saturdays can be busy.
"TV3 signed up to show the racing but here we are on the first Saturday of the year and they're not showing it, so the only way forward is to sign up to Racing UK, which is too expensive. They want more people to watch and go racing – well show it then."