THE Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) has issued its first public statement on the five-year media rights deal which will see live Irish racing pictures move from At The Races to Racing UK next year.
Yesterday AIR ratified the deal and this marked the conclusion of the approval process which also involved Horse Racing Ireland [HRI] sanctioning the arrangements at a meeting last week. At The Races will continue to show Irish racing until the end of this year.
John Moloney, chairman of AIR, said: "These new arrangements provide certainty of funding for Irish racecourses from media rights until 2023. These monies will be invested by racecourses in the infrastructure of racing for the benefit of all those who participate in and/or enjoy our wonderful sport".
AIR chief executive Paddy Walsh paid tribute to At The Races for their excellent coverage of Irish racing in recent years, adding: "We hope that the quality of the service, which will include the best of both Irish and British racing in high definition, will prove attractive to our old and new customers alike.
"Over 95% of all Irish races will be shown live on the new channel and subscribers to the new service, post 2019, will have full, live access to every race run in Ireland via Racing UK Extra which is available on digital platforms and can be streamed to your TV or mobile device."
The new deal has provoked considerable negative reaction from racing fans on social media, many of whom perceived At The Races to be a 'free' channel which came with the basic Sky television bundle. Racing UK requires a monthly subscription fee of approximately €30.
MORE ON THIS STORY IN THE IRISH FIELD NEXT WEEKEND