British commercial broadcaster ITV has extended an agreement to air free coverage of UK horse racing through the end of 2026.
The Main Events
The coverage for the three-year extension includes central British horse racing events, the Grand National, Royal Ascot, the Derby, and the Cheltenham Festival, the annual event taking place this week set to be shown on ITV.
The Original Deal
ITV began broadcasting free-to-air coverage of British racing in 2017, airing races across both ITV1 primary channels ITV4 and ITVx.
ITV Spokesperson Speaks
ITV director of sport Niall Sloane lauded the new agreement:
This deal will take us to a decade of racing on ITV and we’re delighted to be able to continue to bring to viewers well over 100 days of live coverage of this wonderful sport, including some of the most enjoyable, storied, and thrilling events of each year.
Sloane looked forward to continuing to work with broadcast partners such as Racecourse Media Group and others “to bring audiences the very best racing has to offer in the coming years.”
Racecourse Spokesperson Speaks
Racecourse Media Group chief executive Martin Stevenson also commented on the major new deal, saying:
On behalf of our racecourses, we are delighted to have cemented our relationship with ITV for a further three years.
On the Partnership
Stevenson called ITV “an excellent partner” so far for horseracing, “providing more terrestrial coverage here in the UK than in any other racing jurisdiction in the world, illustrating both the commitment of the broadcaster and the enduring popularity of the sport.”
ITS Full Coverage
ITS’s greater portfolio which has entrenched the channel as the premier free-to-air broadcasting provider in the UK includes major UK sports and events such as the football’s English FA Cup; Six Nations rugby; the Rugby World Cup; cycling’s Tour de France; the British Touring Car Championships and the MotoGP motorcycling series.
The new deal calls for over 100 days of annual live coverage on ITV1 and ITV4 each year, complete with a simulcast on ITVX, in addition to the premiere morning racing program The Opening Show.
Viewing has increased steadily since the original free-to-air deal was launched in 2017, with median audiences for major events such as Cheltenham Festival climbing by more than a third overall and 50% for young viewers.
The new ITV broadcast extension deal establishes horseracing as among the most sustainable events for British viewers, ensuring healthy wagering engagement as well as individual horseracing popularity among a growing legion of viewers in the UK.