TV3 wins Irish rights to British horse racing
Four-year deal means RTÉ has lost Cheltenham and Aintree festivals to its rival
The 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Don Cossack, ridden by Bryan Cooper Photograph: Inpho
The deal means RTÉ has lost the Irish rights to show key races such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Aintree Grand National.
TV3, owned by Virgin Media, said it would show up to 50 days of live racing action a year across its main channel and 3e, with certain race meetings at Newmarket, Newbury and York also included in the rights package.
“Cheltenham and Aintree are hugely important milestones in the Irish sporting calendar every year, but this new agreement represents so much more as it spans some of the most important international racing fixtures in the world with a wonderful mix of flat and national hunt festivals,” said TV3 Group director of broadcasting Niall Cogley.
RMG chief executive Richard FitzGerald said RMG was “delighted” that the race meetings would “receive such a prominent shop window in Ireland via TV3 and 3e”.
Coverage will begin on 3e from January 1st with the New Year’s Day meeting from Cheltenham and the broadcaster has published its full schedule of racing coverage for the year.
In the UK, horse racing rights will switch next year from Channel 4 to ITV. The TV3 deal is good news for Irish viewers who would have lost access to certain meetings that were shown by Channel 4, but not by RTÉ.
The 2017 Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival will be held on St Patrick’s Day.