Arena and Sky buy C4's Attheraces stake
Arena Leisure and BSkyB yesterday announced the resurrection of Attheraces, their defunct racing channel, after buying out Channel 4.
Screens taking the old Attheraces service went blank last month after it failed to generate the betting revenues anticipated by the three partners. The episode caused Arena, which owns six courses, to post a £42m loss for the past year.
BSkyB and Arena yesterday said they had bought out Channel 4 from the consortium for £1.25m, and would launch a new channel in early June.
Unlike the old channel, it will not offer betting services itself, but will join up with established bookmakers to take bets from viewers. Bookmakers such as William Hill and Ladbrokes have seen their telephone betting revenues fall as much as 20 per cent in the weeks that racing has been off air.
The new channel has also learnt from its past mistakes and will not pay for broadcasting rights up front, as it did under the old deal. Racecourses will become equity holders in the channel and revenues will be passed on to the course owners as they are generated. Of the first £27.5m generated by the channel, £17.5m will go to Arena and £10m to BSkyB.
"We have eliminated most of the costs, such as our own bookmaking facilities, and this will ensure that racing goes in to 9 million homes free of charge. " Ian Penrose, the chief executive of Arena Leisure, said yesterday.
But the new channel so far has only 25 of the 59 courses on board, including Ascot and Chepstow. The remainder have signed up to The Horseracing Channel, a rival consortium.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
Heathrow airport reopens runways after British Airways plane 'on fire over London' makes emergency landing
Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
- 3 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.