Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), the Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR) and Satellite Information Services (SIS) have today announced that they have reached agreement on a five-year extension (up to the end of 2023) to their current contract for the distribution of live pictures and data of Irish horse racing to Licensed Betting Offices (LBO) across the UK, Ireland and internationally.
Additionally, SIS has secured the sole and exclusive rights from 2017 to stream Irish horseracing to online operators worldwide and to distribute Direct To Home (DTH) pictures.
The agreement, which was reached last week and is subject to certain conditions, including ratification next week by the board of HRI and the membership of the AIR, means that Irish horseracing will remain part of SIS’s core content package for bookmakers, with 355 fixtures available to major bookmakers for inclusion in their in-house channels, most of which are produced by SIS. The pictures and data will also be included in an SIS-produced channel for bookmakers who currently rely on the SIS FACTS channel.
The new deal provides for the introduction of SIS’s innovative new in-running data capture across all Irish racecourses, significantly enhancing the betting experience. Using proprietary algorithms, SIS will deliver real-time betting updates throughout races, providing instant analysis of this data and graphic visualisation outputs.
The new deal will create a long term, efficient relationship between Irish racing and bookmakers. significantly reducing the ‘leakage’ of value between bookmakers and racecourse owners, with racecourses receiving increased income compared to their current arrangements and bookmakers paying no more than they do at present.
Gary Smith, chief executive of SIS, added: “This agreement not only provides continuity but also enhances SIS’s offering to its customers. It ensures that retail bookmakers across the UK and Ireland, and now internationally, will have access to Irish horseracing as part of a comprehensive package of content to support their over-the-counter sports betting businesses for many years to come.
“We are delighted to now also be able to stream Irish horseracing internationally, which demonstrates our innovative approach to moving racing forward to the benefit of all of its stakeholders.”
John Moloney, chairman of AIR, said: “As chairman of the AIR and of HRI’s Media Rights Committee, I am delighted at the agreement which has been reached with SIS for the sale of Irish racing’s media rights.
"The interest in these rights reflects the high regard in which our product is held internationally. The certainty of funding provided by this long-term media rights deal will underpin racecourse finances for the next seven years and will enable the continuing widespread development of facilities for racegoers, racehorse owners and all those working in the industry.”
Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI, stated: “This agreement with SIS is a really positive development for Irish racing and one on which HRI has been working for several months. HRI is committed to working together with SIS in relation to issues such as fixture scheduling and providing a competitive racing programme, and we look forward to the continuation of our mutually beneficial relationship with the betting industry, with the joint objective of growing interest in and turnover on Irish racing.
AT THE RACES
The new arrangements will include a review of the future of Irish racing on Direct-To-Home (DTH) television as SIS intends to immediately seek proposals for the provision of DTH coverage of Irish racing from 2017 onwards. This process will be run with the involvement of HRI/AIR.
Gary Smith said: “SIS has committed to HRI/AIR to explore options for the DTH distribution of Irish racing to achieve their objectives and also to consult with HRI/AIR before proceeding with any DTH arrangements. SIS enjoys a close relationship with ATR and would be happy to see Irish racing stay on ATR's channel.”
Brian Kavanagh said: “Whilst recognising that the DTH rights have now been licensed exclusively to SIS, HRI/AIR has been very happy with its current DTH arrangements with ATR and is pleased that SIS has committed to fully explore options with ATR for the future. HRI/AIR look forward to reviewing the options with SIS.”
Matthew Imi, chief executive of At The Races, commented: “ATR has a long standing and important relationship with HRI/AIR and SIS in relation to developing Irish media rights and we look forward to working together to ensure that we all continue to maximise both exposure for the sport and the value of the rights themselves.”
MORE ON THIS STORY IN THE IRISH FIELD THIS WEEKEND