Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) has outlined the two preferred bidders for its media rights packages, selecting SIS (Sports Information Services) and Racecourse Media Group (RMG).
The two packages cover separate areas of horse racing content distribution from across Ireland’s 24 racecourses, and both will be awarded for the 2024 to 2028 seasons.
Covered under the first package are media rights for Licenced Betting Offices (LBOs) – i.e. high-street retail bookmakers – Streaming & Digital, International Fixed Odds, for which SIS is the preferred bidder.
RMG, meanwhile, is the HRI’s ideal candidate for Direct-To-Home, Free-To-Air UK, and International Tote content distribution – the company already has a dominant position in both Uk and Irish racing.
Both SIS and RMG are the current rights holders for the respective packages, and so the HRI is clearly leaning towards a renewal – however, The Irish Times has reported that Sky Sports Racing is ‘engaged’ with the Irish horse racing authority.
The HRI stated that it “will now enter into a period of exclusivity during which the Media Rights Committee and the Preferred Bidders will commence negotiations in order to finalise the proposed agreement which, following approval by the racecourses and HRI, shall be entered into between the Preferred Bidders and the Rightsholders.
“There will be no further comment during this period of exclusive negotiations.”
Following the addition of Fakenham as the latest British racecourse to join its network of partner tracks, RMG now distributes content from a total of 36 UK and 26 Irish venues.
The past year has seen the company secure or renew racing distribution contracts with a range of prominent racecourses, fixtures and operators, including the Grand National and Cheltenham Festival.
SIS, meanwhile, is active in Ireland via its SIS Media Ltd subsidiary – the company recently caught some attention due to being involved in a legal case against local operator AlphaBet.
The Milton Keynes-based company has accused AlphaBet of carrying out ‘signal theft’ of its horse racing and betting content feed services between 2009 and 2017 after its contract for these broadcasting rights was terminated.