15 December 2015 – Racing Post
Racecourse group Arena Racing Company has agreed a “landmark” deal licensing it to provide coverage of South African racing to betting shops in Britain and Ireland in the latest major move in the rapidly changing media rights landscape.
South African company Phumelela has licensed Arc to supply and distribute coverage of all South African race meetings from June 1 next year until the end of 2022 in an agreement that will also result in South African racing continuing to be distributed to online betting operators via the At The Races streaming platform Sport Mediastream. Arc replaces SIS, which has held the rights to South African racing since 2011. In September SIS and Racecourse Media Group – which represents the media rights of 34 courses – announced a five-year betting-shop rights agreement for the period between 2018 and 2023, which in turn threw the future of SIS’s rival TurfTV into doubt.
The future of the betting-shop rights for Arc’s 15 courses has yet to be decided. The rights for Arc’s tracks under the old Arena Leisure banner come up for renewal at the end of next year, while the deal involving the old Northern courses comes up for renewal at the end of 2017. South African racing will be sold with Arc’s rights, although how the pictures will be delivered to betting shops has yet to be decided.
Arc chief executive Martin Cruddace said: “Arc is thrilled to be extending our relationship with Phumelela in order to help further promote South African racing to a British and Irish audience. This is mutually beneficial for all involved and we are pleased to be providing a transparent service for LBOs.”
South African racing is an important part of the betting-shop offering, with 440 race meetings from eight racecourses being shown each year. Phumelela chief executive Rian du Plessis said: “We are delighted to have struck a deal with Arc which ensures South African racing can continue to have a UK and Irish audience and grow its popularity.”