U.K. Racecourses In Line For Windfall After TV Gamble Pays Off Big
Leading racecourses "are set for huge windfalls after two big bets on the televised popularity of the sport came in," according to Robert Lea of the LONDON TIMES. Their winner is Racecourse Media Group, the company set up by 34 courses -- including the big ones -- "to manage and sell their televised rights." Its main operations are Turf TV, a provider of live feeds to more than 10,000 bookies' shops co-owned with Bahamas-based billionaire Joe Lewis; Racing UK, a pay-TV channel that costs subscribers £20.80 ($31.68) a month; "and the management of racing's decision to hand terrestrial coverage to Channel 4." According to "RMG's annual figures, circulated to its racecourse shareholders this week," a record £46M was paid by it to the course owners in '12 -- but that is going to soar this year to £64M ($97M). RMG courses "are the big winners from the Channel 4 contract:" RMG figures show annual income to the courses will rise from £700,000 under the previous BBC/Channel 4 regime to £5M ($7M) in '13 (LONDON TIMES, 4/18).