Ladbrokes say new channel cost is prohibitive
Ladbrokes have described proposals from new betting shop channel The Racing Partnership (TRP) as "cost prohibitive" with time running out for a deal to be signed which would prevent action from a number of courses being unavailable in offices from January 1.
The channel was set up by Arena Racing Company to sell pictures direct to bookmakers and will include meetings from all 15 Arc-owned racecourses and seven independent tracks – Fakenham, Ffos Las, Hexham, Newton Abbot, Plumpton, Ripon and Towcester – from January 2018.
However, six of those 22 courses will leave SIS to be shown on TRP from January 1 – Doncaster, Lingfield, Southwell, Windsor, Wolverhampton and Worcester.
In October, TRP agreed a long-term media rights deal with Paddy Power Betfair which means more than 1,800 shops are now signed up to take the service.
However the biggest betting shop chains – Ladbrokes Coral Group plc, William Hill and Betfred, have yet to sign up.
That raises the prospect of betting shop customers being unable to see action from that sextet of tracks in those firms' shops, starting with Southwell on January 1.
Ladbrokes' commercial director Richard Lang said: "We are engaged with TRP in discussions for the provision of the Arc content but agreement has not yet been reached.
"We are keen to deliver a full content proposition to our customers but the current proposals are cost prohibitive.
"Our support of UK racing remains strong but we are operating against a backdrop of escalating costs and declining stakes so that must be acknowledged if we are to reach any agreement."
Representatives of Betfred, Coral and William Hill said they did not wish to comment on commercial negotiations at this point, which was echoed by Arc.
Arc director of external affairs Susannah Gill said: "We will not comment on any sensitive commercial matters.
"The Racing Partnership is focused on providing a compelling betting product for bookmakers that will add value to their businesses given the continued appeal of betting on British racing."
The creation of TRP means that bookmakers will need three channels to show all the action from Britain's racecourses in 2017, although that is set to be reduced to two in 2018 when SIS take over the Racecourse Media Group tracks from TurfTV.