ITV Racing has begun renegotiations of its broadcast contract with UK racing, in which it is claiming £1.5 million in compensation for the postponement of this year’s Aintree Grand National.
Seeking to renew its contract, ITV Racing is reportedly trying to reduce its current broadcast fee of £7.5 million per season in view of this year’s disruptions.
Racecourse Media Group CEO Richard Fitzgerald will lead the contract negotiations on behalf of UK racing, stating that he is positive that stakeholders will reach an agreement.
Having postponed its competitive schedule since mid-March, which led to the cancellation of the Grand National meeting, UK racing has taken a £500 million hit on its 2020 budget.
Broadcast negotiations are taking place as the British Horseracing Association (BHA) outlines its ‘final precautionary steps’ to resume the sport, having earmarked the 1 June for a resumption in racing, pending government approval.
UK racing seeks to maintain its tier-1 festival coverage on terrestrial TV (Cheltenham, Aintree and Royal Ascot), with ITV Racing reporting audiences of 10 million viewers during its coverage of the 2019 Grand National.
Winning UK racing’s media rights in 2016, ITV relaunched its dormant ITV Racing brand, replacing Channel 4 as lead terrestrial broadcaster.
The relaunch of ITV Racing was branded as a new era for racing’s media coverage, in which ITV would significantly expand the sport’s presence across its network, broadcasting 40 days of racing per year across its main channels.