IMG win terrestrial broadcast contract
Monday 13 August 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
Channel 4 have announced IMG Sports Media as the new producers of Channel 4's racing coverage from January 2013.
The new four-year agreement will see Clare Balding move from the BBC to take a leading role in coverage of meetings such as the Grand National, the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot.
The deal, in operation from January 2013 until 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.
Balding will be the lead presenter from January 1, with both familiar and new faces forming a team which will be announced later in the year.
"I am absolutely thrilled that Channel 4 has asked me to be a part of their new racing team," Balding, who impressed many during the London 2012 Olympic coverage, said. "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."
Carl Hicks will also be moving from the BBC. Currently the Sport Senior Programme Editor, Hicks will join IMG Sports Media to head up the team as Executive Producer having recently edited the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Under Hicks IMG will produce up to 90 days of coverage a year and have committed to freshen up coverage, which had previously been split between Highflyer and Sunset + Vine.
Although few details have been released as yet emphasis on new graphics designed by Daryl Goodrich, whose film played a fundamental role in winning the London 2012 Olympic Games, as well as ‘robust journalism’ have been outlined.
"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,” Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4's Sports Editor, said.
“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.”
Graham Fry, Managing Director Sports Production Worldwide for IMG Sports Media, said: 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."