Whilst this news may have been announced over a year ago, it’s potential impact and importance to the world of UK horse racing is now beginning to be discussed with an increased urgency.
For those who don’t know, Channel 4 relinquished its rights to cover UK Horse racing mainly due to a steep decline in viewership numbers over the past couple of years. Channel 4 had essentially run out of both ideas and budget to keep its racing coverage off of life support. Many see horse racing as a form of programming whose time has long since passed, however, ITV are not among those pessimists and on Jan 1st 2017 will officially take over terrestrial coverage of UK horse racing.
Now many of our members may have only recently started watching horse racing in order to complete some of the extremely profitable ‘Channel 4’ horse racing reload offers that are regularly offered by bookmakers. But does this change of TV station mean that this lucrative profit-making opportunity goes before any of us really have the chance to make the most of it? Almost certainly not, is the answer to that particular worry.
ITV are a power-house compared to Channel 4. For one, their ad revenue makes them a lot more funded and as a result will likely result in far better coverage of a sport, which if left to its own devices, can be pretty boring to watch. Additionally, ITV’s online and mobile platforms are superior to Ch4’s, which in turn will open up another audience for them to unlock.
All of which should lead to an increase in viewership or at the very least a short term spike in interest. This interest is massively important for us as matched bettors. If you’ve read any of the Channel 4 reload offers posted every weekend, you’ll have noticed that they all revolve around ‘televised’ races. Meaning, if there are less races on TV then, potentially, there is less profit to be made. So, we should all be routing for the increased viewership to convince ITV executives that keeping the same volume of coverage is a worthwhile exercise.
Currently ITV have committed to 40 days’ worth of racing coverage for 2017. Currently, this is less coverage than Ch4, however, the coverage on those days looks to be more extensive, with huge promotional pushes around big events. This is likely to draw in a lot of bookmakers.
So, whilst we may not see as many horse racing reload offers, we are likely to see an increase in value when the offers do appear. Heads&Heads will always have one eye on horse racing as it is such a big part of our long-term profit guarantee. If we have any further updates on the channel switch and what it means for us, we’ll let our community know straightaway.