Dismay and despair has greeted news, revealed by The Racing Post, that coverage of Irish racing is set to leave At The Races (ATR) for Racing UK at the start of 2019.
Stakeholders throughout the sport have reacted with concern following the revelation, with a huge uncertainty over the profile of the sport one major issue cited.
At The Races, available as part of the basic Sky Sports TV package, will now see its coverage reduced to 23 British courses following the removal of 26 Irish tracks, with Racing UK a subscription channel.
The prominence with which Irish content is to receive on Racing UK is one distinct issue that has been raised, with it placed front and centre on ATR, and also forming part of the platforms unique selling point.
It has been detailed that the Racecourse Media Group has agreed a deal with SIS, with the firm holding sole and exclusive rights to broadcast racing from every Irish racecourse following a five year deal signed with Association of Irish Racecourses (AIR), when its current relationship expires at the end of year.
In related news, race fans within Ireland will still be able to tune in to live racing on free to air television, following news that state broadcaster RTÉ has agreed a new three year deal.
Under the terms of the new broadcasting deal, signed by RTÉ Sport and Horse Racing Ireland, Irish race fans are to continue to watch the sports most prestigious days on the calendar on free to air RTÉ television and RTÉ Player.
Between 25 and 27 days of live Irish racing are to be televised during the course of the agreement, and will feature the major festivals, such as Punchestown, Galway and the Christmas Festival at Leopardstown, in addition to the biggest races of the year: the Grand National from Fairyhouse, Gold Cup, Champion Stakes and the Irish Derby from the Curragh.