Ever since Channel 4 took over broadcasting rights from the BBC in early 2013, viewings have dropped significantly – British Champions Day was down from 1.1 million in 2012 to only 367,000 last October. Channel 4 currently covers 90 days racing a year.
Racing’s rights holders – including Jockey Club Racecourses and Racecourse Media Group – hope to improve the declining viewing numbers by transferring rights to ITV, despite concerns over how the channel will televise the racing.
ITV will split coverage between its main channel and ITV 4 – with the former showing a minimum of 34 days racing including the biggest National Hunt and flat race meets and the latter showing 60 days and also providing studio based commentary. A Morning Line type show has also been confirmed by ITV for Saturday mornings.