Blow For British Racing

International markets progress hampered

Racecourse Media Group has cut ties with GBI, which since 2010 has been the sole distributor of UK and Irish racing to overseas markets, and has formed a partnership with SIS to distribute racing to overseas betting operators from next year, according to Racing Post.

David Thorpe, chairman of RMG rival Arena Racing Company, told Racing Post RMG was “fracturing British racing,” by leaving GBI.

“We are a little surprised that, without any warning, RMG has informed us that they have chosen the bookmaker-owned SIS as their new international partner, so fracturing British horseracing in the process and damaging the huge progress we have made together in penetrating international markets,” Thorpe said.

“This will have ramifications as to how British racecourses work together in the future. We are sure our international horserace partners will be disappointed.”

RMG’s partnership with SIS is an extension of a deal beginning on 1 April that will see the company take over the audiovisual and data distribution for RMG’s 37 tracks to betting shops, and RMG Chief Executive Richard FitzGerald told Racing Post, “This exciting new agreement with SIS is a natural extension of our partnership, following on from our LBO [Licensed Betting Office] rights agreement. It is a strategic, long-term approach to RMG’s media rights, which will result in cost savings, revenue enhancements and the opportunity to grow and promote our quality racing. And, of course, all RMG’s profits are paid to its racecourse shareholders.”

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