Racing: Bookmakers asked to back Racing UK
Tuesday 29 June 2004
Armchair punters due to be asked to pay a monthly subscription for the new Racing UK television channel could yet find an unlikely saviour from the ranks of bookmakers.
Racing UK took the initiative in the propaganda battle between the two television channels dedicated to horseracing as it outlined its aims and objectives in London yesterday. And it confirmed that talks are taking place with the betting industry to find partners to help finance the channel.
Simon Bazalgette, the former chief executive of Music Choice Europe, was unveiled as Racing UK's executive chairman, with the former BBC director Will Wyatt joining as a director.
Racing UK also confirmed that it had signed deals for the sale of pictures from its 30 tracks to six countries, through its rights arrangement with the South African betting operator Phumelela. Revenues raised from the sale of the pictures will provide an essential plank to the funding of the channel, and the completion of these deals at an early stage in the channel's life represents an achievement.
However, the bad news for the viewers is that the introduction of a monthly subscription charge, believed to be between £20 and £25, is an equally important component of the business plan and could be introduced by the end of the year.
Against the free-to-air offerings of rival At The Races, which is part-owned by Sky, the ability to attract the necessary number of subscribers to Racing UK is vital to its future. Exact details of the number of subscribers required remain vague.
Bazalgette would speak only of a figure "in the lows tens of thousands", but emphasised that in contrast to the business model of the ill-fated attheraces channel which closed earlier this year, Racing UK had "very realistic expectations which take into effect the impact of competing with another channel".
A charge could be avoided, though, through the intervention of a bookmaking sponsor. "We have a very identifiable target market and it would surely be in the interest of betting operators to ensure that their customers are gaining access to pictures," Bazalgette said.
"We are in talks with all the major bookmakers to discuss ways in which we can work together. If enough of them decided that they would put money behind a free-to-air channel, then that is something we could look at. But we are not going to subsidise a free-to-air channel and if we have to take the subscription route, then that is what we will do."
Nap: Dunlea Dancer
Latest in Sport
Tour de France 2015: Five riders abandon race after huge crash on Stage 3
World's highest paid athletes: Floyd Mayweather way ahead as three Brits make top 20
Cristiano Ronaldo storms out of interview after being asked about possible sale of Manchester United target Sergio Ramos
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Kyrgios set for heavy fine for giving up game during loss to Richard Gasquet
Nick Kyrgios supporters who smeared Vegemite on their face questioned by Serena Williams
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Isis flag: What do the words mean and what are its origins?
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a well establis...
£16500 - £22500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued growth an exce...
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A full-service agency based in ...
£16000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to company expansion a fant...