8 December 2016 – Racing Post
New betting shop channel The Racing Partnership (TRP) has achieved a major breakthrough with the news it has agreed a long-term media-rights deal with William Hill.
The deal means William Hill’s 2,371 betting shops will have access to pictures from the first six British racecourses set to leave SIS for TRP from January 1: the all-weather tracks at Linfield, Southwell and Wolverhampton as well as Doncaster, Windsor and Worcester.
It will also heap pressure on the other major retail bookmaking chains Ladbrokes-Coral plc and Betfred to sign their own deals while easing the stress on Arena Racing Company (ARC), for whom media-rights income is vital. The channel was set up by ARC to sell pictures direst to bookmakers and cut out the ‘leakage’ of income to intermediaries such as SIS and TurfTV. It will include meetings from all 15 ARC-owned racecourses and seven independent tracks – Fakenham, Ffos Las, Hexham Newton Abbot, Plumpton, Ripon and Towcester – from January 2018. TRP was launched at the beginning of September and more than 1,800 betting shops have already signed up for the channel, including 600 Paddy Power shops in the UK and Ireland.
Arc chief executive Martin Cruddace said: “ARC and its independent partner racecourses and delighted to be part of a truly groundbreaking deal with William Hill. “We have a clear vision of wanting to create the most efficient deal for all parties, based on content that has real value, and we believe we have achieved just that with this deal. We are committed to working with William Hill to develop, improve and deliver the racing product that their customers want. It is essential for the long-term health of British racing that there is a strong and vibrant retail betting sector.”
The creation of TRP means betting shops will have to take three different services next year to cover all the action from Britain’s racecourses. In 2017 TRP will have 35 per cent of fixtures, TurfTV 36 per cent and SIS 29 per cent and those bookmakers without TRP will have no British racing in their shops on January 9, 10 and 31. Last month Ladbrokes-Coral said they were engaged in talks with TRP but that the service was “cost prohibitive”. However, the Hills deal will put pressure on them and Betfred to strike similar agreements.
William Hill’s interim chief executive Philip Bowcock said: “As a result of this agreement William Hill customers will continue to enjoy the full range of horseracing coverage from the UK and abroad. “This agreement continues to evolve to commercial partnership between betting and racing and this represents the first time William Hill has entered into a direct media-rights agreement with British racecourses. I look forward to working with The Racing Partnership to ensure William Hill betting shop customers get the best possible racing service.”
Since September the TRP channel has also been broadcasting horseracing from South Africa while this week it announced it will feature Towcester greyhounds within its new service every Saturday morning from this weekend.