Sky Sports is set to launch a new HD channel dedicated to horse racing at the beginning of next year.
At The Races, which originally launched in 2000 and is currently available at 415 on Sky and 534 on Virgin, is being replaced with Sky Sports Racing “on or before 1 January 2019”.
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It will be available to every Sky TV customer in the UK and Ireland at no extra cost, says Sky, which is promising live racing from over 650 UK fixtures, as well as “high quality exclusive international race meetings”.
Sky Sports has struck up a 10-year deal with Chester Race Company to secure the rights to live action from Chester, which hosts the Boodles May Festival, and Bangor-on-Dee from March next year.
“We’ve seen a great reaction from our customers to launching dedicated sports channels and this takes us to another level,” said Sky Sports MD Barney Francis.
“Horse racing is a massive sport that Sky has been involved in for two decades, now we will have a channel to give our customers more of what they love every day. Adding Chester and Bangor-on-Dee is fantastic news and we look forward to making Sky Sports Racing a new home for racing fans.”
Sky Sports Racing will be the sixth dedicated sports channel the company has launched, following the introduction of Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Cricket in 2017.
“The Boodles May Festival at Chester is a true highlight of the UK racing calendar and both tracks are very well supported and respected within the industry as well as being truly progressive in their outlook,” said Matthew Imi, the chief executive of At The Races.
“Also, there is no better home for our new channel production facility than Sky Sports’ studios which are the best in the business and we believe Sky Sports Racing is set to be a game changer for racing. Later this year we look forward to presenting our plans in more detail to the major constituents in our sport and racing fans more generally.”
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