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Volume 7 No. 149
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Racing UK To Rebrand As Racing TV In January

Racing UK announced it will become Racing TV -- "as the channel looks forward to welcoming racing from all 26 Irish racecourses" from January, according to BROADBAND TV NEWS. The rebrand "reflects the content on both sides of the Irish Sea" and lets Racing TV bring the "full stories" from Britain and Ireland on one racing HD channel. From next year, Racing TV will broadcast live racing from 61 racecourses, equating to over 70% of all racing from Britain and Ireland, including nearly 90% of all Group and Graded races. It means that Racing TV "will have only one day without any live racing outside of Good Friday and four days at Christmas." Gary O'Brien will "spearhead" the Racing TV team in Ireland, where he will be joined by Kevin O'Ryan, Kate Harrington, Ruby Walsh and Donn McClean. Each of the 61 racecourses will have its own dedicated live stream available on Racing TV Extra, a feature of Racing TV's digital platform (BROADBAND TV NEWS, 12/3).

SIGNIFICANT CHANGES: In London, Greg Wood reported TV coverage of the sport "will look quite different" from Jan. 1, when Racing UK and At The Races, the satellite channels that broadcast every race in Britain and Ireland, will be renamed and relaunched with "significant changes to their roster of tracks and presenters." At The Races will become Sky Sports Racing and move its base to Sky's studios in west London, while Racing UK will turn into Racing TV. Ascot, the "biggest individual prize of all," will switch to Sky in time for the Royal meeting in June, while Chester will also be on Sky Sports Racing when its season begins in May. The launch of Sky Sports Racing takes place on Wednesday, when the full team of presenters will be announced. A "major concern" in Ireland is the "sheer volume of content to be squeezed onto Racing TV's coverage." RTV is owned by its British tracks and when there are clashes on busy days -- "which are inevitable" -- the "fear is that the British action will take precedence." Racecourse Media Group, the parent company of RTV, "attempted to allay those concerns" by adopting what CEO Richard FitzGerald described as a "Netflix-style approach" to coverage. The point FitzGerald was trying to make is that RTV is "multi-platform," and available for online streaming to phones, tablets and laptops in addition to the "old-fashioned approach of switching on the telly" (GUARDIAN, 12/3).