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IMG takes over C4 Racing coverage from Highflyer

IMG takes over C4 Racing coverage from Highflyer
Staff Reporter
14 August 2012

Channel 4  has awarded IMG Sports Media the four-year production contract for the corporation's horseracing coverage, which will be presented by Clare Balding from January. The move brings to an end 18 years of production by Highflyer TV.

The coverage includes all the sport's premium events from January 2013 - Cheltenham Festival, Aintree's three-day John Smith's Grand National meeting, the Investec Derby Festival from Epsom Downs, Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood and the Flat Season QIPCO British Champions Series and Day.

The deal, in operation from January 2013 till December 2016, runs alongside Channel 4's four-year media agreement with Racecourse Media Group. In addition, Channel 4 Racing sponsors Dubai have signed a new four-year extension deal until 2016.

Carl Hicks, BBC Sport senior programme editor will join IMG Sports Media to head up the team as executive producer, having recently edited the London 2012 Olympic Games. His racing credits include nine Grand Nationals, eight Royal Ascot's, six Derby's plus the Prix De L'Arc and others.

Under the new contract IMG Sports Media will produce around 90 days a year of live terrestrial horseracing coverage in addition to The Morning Line.

IMG Sports Media has committed to introduce a range of innovations including graphical enhancements, directed by Daryl Goodrich.

The digital propositions for Channel 4's horseracing coverage formed an important part of the tender process and Channel 4 and IMG Sports Media will relaunch and build new presences on other digital platforms.

Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4's Sports editor says, "Their pitch was compelling and crucially contained deep racing expertise allied to innovative broadcasting proposals. The winning bid hails the arrival of a new era in broadcasting for the sport at a time when the industry is moving forwards with real momentum.

"Clare's arrival is superb news for Channel 4 and the production team. Quite simply she is the sports broadcaster of her era and for her to be heading up our coverage across the year is extremely exciting.

"It is also fitting at this point to thank Highflyer TV for everything they have done for Channel 4 and British horseracing over many years."

John Ferguson, vice chairman of Falcon and Associates and bloodstock advisor to UAE vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, his highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum says: "His highness Sheikh Mohammed has supported British horseracing for many years and has always felt that strong terrestrial television coverage is crucial to the sport's popularity in the UK. As Channel 4 Racing becomes the home of all racing for the British public, his highness has made the decision that Dubai will continue to be the broadcast sponsor for the period 2013- 2016. Since 2008, when the sponsorship started, we have seen a growth in viewership and we look forward to the future."

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