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Press

Channel 4 Racing enters new era

CorporatePortal

Channel 4 today announces that it has awarded IMG Sports Media the four-year production contract for the corporation's exclusive horseracing coverage which includes all the sport's premium events from January 2013 - Cheltenham Festival, Aintree's three-day John Smith's Grand National meeting, the Investec Derby Festival from Epsom Downs, Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood and the entire Flat Season QIPCO British Champions Series and Day.

The deal, in operation from January 2013 till December 2016, runs alongside Channel 4's four-year media agreement with Racecourse Media Group. In addition, Channel 4 Racing sponsors, Dubai, have signed a new four-year extension deal until 2016.

Channel 4 is also delighted to announce that acclaimed sports broadcaster, CLARE BALDING, joins as the lead presenter of Channel 4 Racing from January 1st. Her expertise and warmth will bring a new audience to the programmes working alongside a combination of familiar and new talent to be announced later in the year.

The IMG Sports Media production team brings together award-winning creative talent with renowned horseracing specialists. CARL HICKS, BBC Sport Senior Programme Editor will join IMG Sports Media to head up the team as Executive Producer having recently edited the London 2012 Olympic Games. His Racing pedigree includes nine Grand Nationals, eight Royal Ascot's, six Derby's plus the Prix De L'Arc and others. Under the new contract IMG Sports Media will produce around 90 days a year of live terrestrial horseracing coverage in addition to the Morning Line.

IMG Sports Media, part of IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, has committed to introduce a range of innovations including graphical enhancements, directed by DARYL GOODRICH, whose film played a fundamental role in winning the London 2012 Olympic Games bid through to new contemporary editorial directions, compelling race coverage and robust journalism. This will be delivered alongside new initiatives forged with the sport which aim to create an enhanced TV production from January 2013.

The digital propositions for Channel 4's horseracing coverage formed an important part of the tender process and Channel 4 and IMG Sports Media will relaunch channel4.com/racing and build new presences on other digital platforms.

Jay Hunt, Channel 4's Chief Creative Officer says:
"Clare has shown over the last two weeks at the Olympics why she is rightly acclaimed as one of the UK's leading broadcasters and I'm delighted that, in addition to presenting the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Channel 4 this autumn, she will lead our horse racing coverage from 2013. With the expertise of IMG Sports on board, I'm hugely excited about the future of racing on Channel 4."

Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4's Sports Editor, says:
"After a rigorous and invaluable tender process, I am looking forward immensely to working with IMG Sports Media to deliver our vision for the sport. Their pitch was compelling and crucially contained deep racing expertise allied to innovative broadcasting proposals. The winning bid hails the arrival of a new era in broadcasting for the sport at a time when the industry is moving forwards with real momentum. The hard work starts now as we head towards 2013 and the exciting challenges ahead.

"Clare's arrival is superb news for Channel 4 and the production team. Quite simply she is the sports broadcaster of her era and for her to be heading up our coverage across the year is extremely exciting. Racing fans have a lot to look forward to.

"I would also like to thank Dubai for their continued support and we look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship to deliver the programming that their commitment deserves.

"It is also fitting at this point to thank Highflyer TV for everything they have done for Channel 4 and British horseracing over many years."

Graham Fry, Managing Director Sports Production Worldwide for IMG Sports Media, adds:
"We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen as Channel 4's production partner for horse racing in the UK for the next four years. This is a unique and exciting opportunity to bring a fresh approach to an outstanding portfolio of race days, many of them iconic sporting events.

"IMG has hand-picked an outstanding team of experienced and talented production professionals with vast expertise covering the sport. This allied to our strong in-house creative talent who have worked on major sporting events around the globe, will ensure that race viewers see a new and enhanced approach to the overall horse racing experience."

Clare Balding, says:
"I am absolutely thrilled that Channel 4 has asked me to be a part of their new racing team. Racing is my 'home' sport and I am delighted that I will still be part of its coverage on TV. I am excited by Channel 4's plans for their coverage and the way in which they have committed to expanding the profile of jockeys, trainers and horses. I look forward to working with IMG Sports Media who have a high quality reputation for sports programming."

John Ferguson, Vice Chairman of Falcon and Associates and bloodstock advisor to UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum says:
"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has supported British horseracing for many years and has always felt that strong terrestrial television coverage is crucial to the sport's popularity in the UK. As Channel 4 Racing becomes the home of all racing for the British public, His Highness has made the decision that Dubai will continue to be the broadcast sponsor for the period 2013- 2016. Since 2008, when the sponsorship started, we have seen a growth in viewership and we look forward to the future."

NOTES TO EDITOR:

  • IMG Sports Media is the world's largest independent distributor of sports programming, distributing over 20,000 hours of content to major global broadcasters annually and producing 6000 hours of original programming in over 200 projects in locations around the world.
  • Broadcast Magazine announced IMG were the No 1 independent production company in the UK in March 2012 based on hours and turnover. Content includes AELTC (Wimbledon), Tennis Australia (The Australian Open), TPL (ATP Masters 1000s), The R&A (The Open Championship), International Rugby Board (Rugby World Cup), Dorna (Moto GP), National Football League (NFL) and International Volleyball Federation (FIVB). IMG Media operates from over 30 offices worldwide and has daily exchanges with over 4,000 key media contacts.
  • IMG Media distributes across all forms of media including TV, Audio, Fixed Media, In-flight and Closed Circuit, Broadband and Mobile. IMG Media also maintains the world's largest sports archive with more than 250,000 hours of footage.

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