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Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 15:53 GMT
New offer for horseracing TV rights
Charlie Swan on Boss Doyle (right) catches Mick Fitzgerald's Earthmover at Wetherby on 28 October
Like football, racing is expecting big financial gains from the advent of interactive TV
Go Racing - a joint venture of Arena Leisure, British Sky Broadcasting and Channel Four Television - has made a new offer for the media rights to UK horseracing.

It said the bid for television, internet and interactive rights - presented on Wednesday to the Racecourse Association - could be worth more than 750m ($1.1bn) over 10 years.

This trumps an earlier offer from Carlton Communications thought to have been worth about 400m and a previous Arena-led offer of about 320m.

Like football, horseracing has been expected to generate substantial revenue from the introduction of broadband technology and interactive television, which will allow viewers to bet while watching races.

Betting turnover cut

The Go Racing proposal guarantees 400m in cash, including 80m in marketing spend and 50m for racecourses up front.

Top-up revenues will be based on a cut from betting turnover and earnings from other media rights.

Arena's racecourse portfolio
Folkestone
Lingfield Park
Southwell
Windsor
Wolverhampton
Worcester
Go Racing said it combined Channel Four's long-standing experience of broadcasting and supporting racing with BSkyB's interactive capabilities and Arena's ownership of six of the UK's 59 racecourses.

The proposed package features a new digital interactive racing channel, to be called Go Racing, and a sister interactive betting website - including pictures and commentaries - that is due to be launched later this year.

Channel Four would also broadcast a new lunchtime racing programme while some of the rights might be sold on to the BBC.

At present, UK horseracing is broadcast on terrestrial television by Channel Four - which has rights to courses including Cheltenham, Newmarket and Kempton Park - and the BBC, which covers Ascot, Goodwood and Newbury among other courses.

Earlier this year, Channel Four and cable operator NTL withdrew a joint bid for the media rights reported to be worth 250m.

The Go Racing consortium said its offer would expire on 10 November.

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