Kavanagh: New deal in racing's best interests
Irish racing's controversial switch from At The Races to the subscription based channel Racing UK was confirmed yesterday afternoon with Horse Racing Ireland CEO, Brian Kavanagh, welcoming the move.
Since the news broke last Friday morning that ATR would show Irish racing for the last time on December 31 this year, there has been much disquiet about putting Irish racing behind a paywall on Racing UK but following a meeting of the Association Of Irish Racecourses yesterday, Kavanagh commented on the move for the first time.
In a brief statement, Kavanagh said: "This deal is a very positive one and is in the best commercial interests of Irish racing. It will guarantee vital income streams for each of our 26 racecourses until the end of 2023.
"We are conscious of the concerns that have been raised, but are confident that this arrangement is in the overall best interests of the Irish racing industry.
"We look forward to working with RMG and SIS to address any concerns and to ensure that the coverage of Irish racing is of the highest possible standard.
"I would like to thank At The Races for their positive contribution to Irish racing and wish them every success going forward."
When Racing UK take up the coverage on January 1 2019, Irish racing will then be shown in High Definition for the first time from every racecourse but unlike At The Races which was available on basic television packages, Racing UK will cost an extra €31 a month membership fee which "there are no plans in place to increase" according to a joint statement from RMG and SIS.
Another major concern is the inevitable congestion for Racing UK who currently hold the rights to 37 British racecourses. The statement added: "Much work will be undertaken to ensure minimum congestion and clashes on race fixtures and times. Recent history shows that Irish and British racing can be successfully accommodated on one channel."