Major coup as new Sky racing channel tempts Ascot away from Racing UK

The new Sky Sports Racing channel which will replace At The Races from next year has secured a major coup by tempting Ascot racecourse away from rivals Racing UK.

Ascot will join the channel from next March in an agreement that will run until at least 2021, with At The Races also managing UK streaming for betting rights for the racecourse.

Ascot's chief commercial officer Juliet Slot, who led the course's rights review, said: "We’re really pleased to be partnering with Sky Sports Racing. We've chosen them because of the significant investment and commitment to the sport that they have demonstrated, the brand alignment and cross-promotional opportunities that come with the major sports that Sky covers, and the fact that Sky Sports Racing is available in more than 14 million homes."

Ascot chief executive Guy Henderson said the course's strategy was to develop collaborations to deliver the best racing, facilities and customer service possible.

He added: "Today we announce two exciting new ventures with At The Races across pay TV and streaming for betting in the UK.

"During Royal Ascot we announced Ascot World Pool in partnership with Totepool and the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which sees our media rights arrangements there increased to all five days of the 2019 royal meeting."

Ascot had previously been shown on At The Races before joining Racing UK in 2014.

Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said: "Horseracing is a hugely important sport for us, one that we’ve been supporting for more than 20 years.

"In Sky Sports Racing, we are creating a new dedicated home for racing fans and an 11th Sky Sports channel. We’re thrilled to be able to add Ascot to what is already a stellar line-up."

In April Chester and Bangor announced they were moving to the new channel, whose portfolio also includes the William Hill St Leger and Coral Welsh Grand National as well as the Breeders' Cup, US Triple Crown, Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

At The Races chief executive Matthew Imi added: "Sky Sports Racing is an important development for our sport which can benefit the whole industry. For the first time, racing will be positioned and heavily cross-promoted shoulder to shoulder with the other key domestic and global sporting events Sky Sports showcases across its ten other channels.

"Ascot and Sky Sports share several characteristics – building a first-class, market leading business with an attention to detail and an absolute commitment to quality; adopting a progressive approach with an emphasis on innovation and creativity; and ensuring that the customer experience is a great one."