Sky Sports Racing Q&A: Matthew Imi answers the main questions
How many UK courses and fixtures will Sky Sports Racing show?
Sky Sports Racing will have agreements in place with 24 UK racecourses and – based on 2018 fixtures - will be broadcasting 669 live fixtures representing nearly 45 per cent of the UK fixture list.
Could more racecourses join Sky Sports Racing before it launches. Is Ascot a target?
We are very happy to talk through our plans with any UK racecourse as we believe we have a considerable amount to offer the sport. Regarding Ascot, it is a matter of public record that they are currently conducting a tender process for various categories of rights. It is no secret that Sky Sports Racing is a participant in that process. Obviously, those discussions remain between us and Ascot.
Do you see Sky Sports Racing as a rival to ITV now and when talks about the next 'terrestrial' rights deal start?
We don’t speculate about possible future rights negotiations but suffice to say we are committed to producing the best dedicated racing channel and service we can, attracting a new audience for our racecourse partners, positioning racing differently and delivering for the sport. We recognise the value terrestrial broadcast brings to racing’s key events and, indeed, Sky Sports more broadly has long-term relationships with ITV, C4 and the BBC and is in regular dialogue with them all around a range of subjects.
Will viewers see a major difference between ATR and Sky Sports Racing? Will there be major changes in programming?
Sky Sports can bring racing more into the mainstream, give the sport a high-quality home for dedicated, innovative, daily coverage and get the sport more often on the casual sports fan’s radar. This is about materially raising the standard of daily racing coverage from where it sits today. We will be making a significant investment in production and basing ourselves in state of the art facilities at Sky. Details of innovations will be revealed nearer launch but we will obviously be working very much with the benefit of Sky’s resource, expertise and experience in sports broadcast.
Will you be showing more international racing?
We have a long-standing commitment to, and relationship with, some major international partners and we intend to continue this. We believe that Sky Sports Racing will be an attractive partner for all major international rights holders. We know that our viewers aren’t solely interested in domestic racing and that our own product often needs to be presented in a more global context.
Is greyhound racing a possibility for the channel?
We have no plans to incorporate greyhound racing within Sky Sports Racing.
Will regular ATR viewers find Sky Sports Racing is in the same place?
Sky Sports Racing will remain available to Sky customers on channel 415 and to Virgin customers on channel 535.
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