It was with great surprise when I read on the Racing Post twitter last Friday that Racing UK was to take over coverage of all Irish racecourses from 2019.
It had come totally out of the blue, and it could prove to be very bad for the racing industry over here. Here’s some of the pro and cons…
- One of the few upsides to this new deal is that Irish racing can be viewed in HD for the first time. I must admit the picture quality on ATR isn’t great at times. Although that might just be me.
- The fact of the matter now is that you will have to fork out £25 (or 30 euro) a month to watch Irish racing every day, as Racing UK is a pay per view channel. This will mean viewing figures for Irish racing in general will go down considerably in my opinion.
- One of the main concerns is that Irish meetings will get lost in amongst the British meetings. Take Boxing day for example, three meetings are held at Down Royal, Limerick and Leopardstown. Now with all the other action on Boxing day it’s going to be put to one side isn’t it. Attheraces really did a great job in putting its focus on Irish racing.
- There is also worries that this tv rights deal will decrease the interest in the sport. With only 27 days of racing on RTE, many people will be denied the chance to watch Irish racing. How are we supposed to bring more young people into the sport by putting racing coverage behind a paywall?
There has been a lot of response to this news, with trainers Ger Lyons, Robbie McNamara and Denis Coakley all voicing concerns about how the sport’s coverage will fare on Racing UK.
A lot of racing fans and my closest friends have also been frustrated by the move. So, we will just have to see how it goes with Racing UK. I hope they do a good job, although I may be limited to taking out a free month trial. As £25 a month is just too much for my liking.
Article by Jamie Lindsay