Racing is to be broadcast by ITV next year.
The channel will take over from Channel 4 airing the sport from 1 January 2017, after the broadcaster won the tender process for a new four-year term.
ITV will show nearly 100 days of racing annually, with the major events such as the Cheltenham Festival, Grand National meeting, Derby Festival, Royal Ascot, British Champions Day, Goodwood, York’s Ebor and the St Leger on the main channel.
Niall Sloane, ITV director of sport, said the broadcaster was “delighted” to be the home of British racing from 2017.
“We want our coverage to reach not only its loyal, core audience, but beyond, by capturing the full enjoyment of this most wonderful of sports,” he added.
ITV will show a minimum of 34 fixtures on ITV main channel and 60 on ITV4, as well as a magazine preview programme broadcast each Saturday morning on ITV4.
“ITV has made a strong and compelling four-year commitment to British horseracing. ITV places itself at the heart of popular culture and we look forward to working closely with the broadcaster in ensuring racing remains in this fantastic shop window,” said Richard FitzGerald, of Racecourse Media Group (RMG).
“This is a great opportunity for everyone in the industry to support ITV in jointly promoting the sport and telling the stories throughout the year to as wide an audience as possible. The unprecedented level of interest in the tender shows what an attractive proposition the sport is. This is reflected in the new deal, which will generate increased revenues for racing.
“We would like to thank Channel 4 for the huge support they have given horse racing over the years, and particularly their investment in coverage over the last three years. Channel 4 has been a fantastic partner for British racing and we look forward to continuing to work together in delivering a captivating and enthralling year ahead.”
For H&H columnist Richard Johnson’s thoughts on the change don’t miss the next issue of H&H, out Thursday 7 January.