Sky and Ascot extend UK broadcast deal to 2024
Ascot Racecourse, the famous British sporting venue, today agreed a three-year extension to its current UK and Ireland broadcast deal with pay-television operator Sky.
Sky Sports Racing, the dedicated channel operated by the broadcaster, will continue to provide live coverage to a UK audience of all 25 annual fixtures at Ascot until at least the start of 2024, including the prestigious Royal Ascot week.
The current deal between Sky and Ascot, signed in July 2018 and coming into effect early last year, runs until the end of 2020.
The action will continue to be covered on Sky Sports Racing, which launched in January 2019 and is available to every Sky TV customer in the UK and Ireland at no extra cost.
In a separate long-term agreement, digital-only entity At The Races, which Sky Sports Racing was previously known as, will continue to handle the licensing and distribution of racing at Ascot for sportsbooks in the UK.
Juliet Slot, Ascot Racecourse’s chief commercial officer, said today: “Alongside the excellent racing broadcast we benefit from the strong digital audiences with attheraces.com and the broader promotional support from the Sky Sports portfolio. We have developed an excellent partnership with the whole team at Sky Sports Racing.”
The agreement keeps Ascot in Sky Sports Racing’s global rights portfolio, which also includes the Boodles Chester May Festival, William Hill St Leger, Coral Welsh Grand National as well as the Breeders’ Cup, US Triple Crown, Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Sky took over the Ascot rights two years ago from rival Racing UK TV, the channel owned by Racecourse Media Group, the umbrella organisation for 37 courses in the UK, which had itself acquired them in 2014.
Sky Sports’ managing director, Rob Webster, said: “Sky Sports Racing continues to provide a platform for the best of international horse racing and meetings from Ascot Racecourse are a key part of our offering to our customers.”
Matthew Imi, ATR’s chief executive, added: “We have helped Ascot grow some of its key media rights revenues in a short time and we will continue to use our pay TV and digital platform as well as the support of Sky Sports to drive profile and exposure for all Ascot events.”
Earlier this month, ITV, the UK commercial broadcaster, concluded a three-year deal to maintain its exclusive free-to-air coverage of British horse racing, including Ascot, until 2023.
That deal between ITV and venue owners RMG, Arena Racing Company, the Jockey Club and Ascot Racecourse, was agreed following a marathon period of negotiations, with the rights fee to increase from the current £7.5 million ($9.8 million) per year to £9 million per year, according to media reports.
Horse racing was one of the first sports to resume in the UK, albeit behind closed doors, in June, following a break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and has so far attracted significant audiences for ITV.
Meanwhile, Ascot Racecourse today announced a separate partnership with Total Performance Data, a horse racing-focused data delivery service, which becomes its tracking data distribution partner.
TPD, which has similar relationships in place with 37 racecourses worldwide, will “commercialise and broaden the reach of Ascot’s existing tracking data” according to a statement.
TPD has its own partnership in place with Swiss watchmaker Longines to produce high-quality tracking data.
The partnership will enable Ascot to “leverage integrations with broadcasters, bookmakers, form websites and punters around the world", according to the joint statement.