ITV has signed a new three-year deal to show exclusive free-to-air coverage on its channels until the end of 2026.
Coinciding with the start of this year’s Cheltenham Festival, the announcement confirms an extension of ITV’s racing coverage, which first began in 2017.
Over 100 days of live coverage will be shown across ITV1 and ITV4 each year – all simulcast on ITVX – along with morning racing programme The Opening Show.
The deal encompasses UK racing’s Crown Jewel events, including:
- The Grand National,
- Cheltenham Festival,
- Royal Ascot
- The Derby
ITV says viewing of its live coverage has increased across the board, including for major events with average audiences for the Cheltenham Festival climbing by more than a third overall and more than 50% for young viewers compared with the previous broadcaster and record figures for individual days regularly registered.
Niall Sloane, ITV Director of Sport, said:
“This deal will take us to a decade of racing on ITV and we’re delighted to be able to continue to bring to viewers well over 100 days of live coverage of this wonderful sport, including some of the most enjoyable, storied and thrilling events of each year. We look forward to continuing to work with Racecourse Media Group and our other partners within racing to bring audiences the very best racing has to offer in the coming years.”
▶ A quick history of UK horse racing on TV
UK horse racing was previously at home on Channel 4. It had been shown on the channel since 1984, when the former ITV network began to offload its horse racing coverage on to the channel. In 2012, Channel 4 won the rights to show Royal Ascot and the Grand National, which had previously been broadcast on the BBC. But all of its coverage transferred to ITV on the 1st January 2017 after ITV won the broadcast rights.