Following the successful launch of brand new channels dedicated to some of the biggest sports last year, Sky Sports will now add a channel dedicated to horse racing.
‘Sky Sports Racing’ will replace ‘At The Races’ and will be available to every Sky TV customer in the UK and Ireland at no extra cost. It will be available in HD for the first time and produced from Sky’s studios in West London, bringing live racing from over 650 UK fixtures as well as high quality exclusive international race meetings.
Ahead of the launch next year a ten-year deal with Chester Race Company has been signed to bring live racing from Chester and Bangor-on-Dee to Sky Sports Racing from March 2019. The oldest racecourse in the UK, Chester was established in 1539 and was awarded the ROA Racecourse of the year in 2015 and 2016.
Regularly attracting crowds of up to 30,000 throughout its summer season, Chester also hosts the prestigious Boodles May Festival which saw subsequent winners of the Derby, Oaks, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe all racing last year.
Managing Director of Sky Sports Barney Francis said: “We’ve seen a great reaction from our customers to launching dedicated sports channels and this takes us to another level. Horse racing is a massive sport that Sky has been involved in for two decades, now we will have a channel to give our customers more of what they love every day. Adding Chester and Bangor-on-Dee is fantastic news and we look forward to making Sky Sports Racing a new home for racing fans.”
Chief Executive of Chester Race Company Richard Thomas said: “We’re delighted to announce this new deal and long-term partnership. We believe it secures a positive and exciting future for Chester and Bangor-on-Dee Racecourses and fits squarely with our values and ambitions. We know Sky Sports will move the dial in the way our racing is covered but more than that we are excited by the prospect of how we can communicate and promote racing and the Chester brand further. We see real value in what the partnership can bring across TV, digital and social media, for us and for our sponsor partners. There is a lot of crossover between our core audiences and an opportunity to extend our reach more broadly via the Sky family of channels including Sky Sports News. We will be working very closely with the teams at Sky Sports and ATR in what will be a genuinely collaborative relationship.”
Chief Executive of At The Races Matthew Imi said: “We very much look forward to working with Richard and his excellent teams at Chester and Bangor-on-Dee. The Boodles May Festival at Chester is a true highlight of the UK racing calendar and both tracks are very well supported and respected within the industry as well as being truly progressive in their outlook. Also, there is no better home for our new channel production facility than Sky Sports’ studios which are the best in the business and we believe Sky Sports Racing is set to be a game changer for racing. Later this year we look forward to presenting our plans in more detail to the major constituents in our sport and racing fans more generally.”
Sky Sports Racing, the eleventh dedicated sports channel, will be available on TV and on mobile through Sky GO for the first time, allowing customers to watch the channel in ways that suit them.
It joins the dedicated sports channels that were launched last summer, Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports F1®, Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Cricket, alongside Action and Arena, Main Event, Sky Sports News and Sky Sports Mix.
Notes to editors:
• Sky and Arena Racing Company are joint venture partners in ‘At The Races’ which first launched in 2000
• ‘At The Races’ will rebrand as ‘Sky Sports Racing’ on or before 1 January 2019 and will be available to all Sky TV customers in the UK and Ireland
• The channel will be available in HD for the first time and will be produced from Sky Studios in West London. The reach of the channel will be supported through the cross promotion available across the other 10 Sky Sports channels
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About Chester Race Company
Chester Race Company Ltd is a dynamic, constantly evolving organisation with an ever-expanding portfolio. The Company owns two racecourses (Chester and Bangor-On-Dee), an on-course hotel - the Holiday Inn Express, two on-site restaurants; 1539 Restaurant & Bar and The White Horse, in addition to a vibrant city-centre bar; Commonhall Social and most recently, The Yew Tree Pub, in the heart of Cheshire.
Chester Racecourse was the first racecourse to launch its own in-house gaming division; Chester Bet, replacing the Tote on course from 2012.
Chester Race Company also operates its own provision of on-course catering via its Horseradish brand; delivering year-round events, race meetings and conference and banqueting at Bangor-on-Dee and Chester Racecourses, Chester Town Hall, Speke Hall and numerous other affiliate venues and bespoke events throughout the North-West and further afield.
A 365 day a year operation, Chester Racecourse alone attracts over 300,000 visitors annually at raceday fixtures and non-raceday events.
A recent Economic Impact Study reported that Chester Race Company generates £54.1 million of expenditure per annum in the local economy and supports some 974 gross Full Time Equivalent jobs; 24% of employment in the recreation sector alone.