The Racing TV Turn Off – Chequemate?

Enjoy the last week of life as we once knew it

On Thursday last week we celebrated the best news of the season.

The 2022 renewal of the Hollywoodbets Durban July will be run for R5 million – Africa’s greatest race’s richest prize ever.

Yet we start the final week of February today with the gloomy and bizarre prospect that South African horseracing is in the home stretch of the sport’s biggest turn-off in years.

This television war is plain bloody pinch yourself stuff for most of us.

Our favourite battering ram for as long as we can remember, the studio lights at the Rivonia Roadhouse, aka Tellytrack, the channel we once loved to hate, will switch off forever on Monday 28 February.

Let’s be straight – the majority of us are puzzled and still scratching our heads.

Many have posed the question to us  – ‘does racing’s great benefactor Mrs Mary Slack even know about this pending timebomb’?

While some, probably wisely given the five star hospitality, adopted the ‘loose lips sink ships’ philosophy at last Thursday evening’s swish, and really superbly organised Hollywoodbets Durban July launch, and avoided the subject, the rank and file racing movers and shakers were shaking their heads.

But nobody is really saying much – some preferring to smile and laud South African racing’s rescuers, the Gauteng power players, as is the stock standard horseracing politically correct show of humility and gratitude.

This is a mudstorm of massive proportions. But maybe it’s really all just a massive early April Fool’s prank.

In a nutshell – excuse the pun – KwaZulu-Natal racing will be out in the bitter cold in terms of live television coverage on DStv from 1 March.

That also means that following the current stalemate – or ‘chequemate’ – our new 4RacingTv channel on 240, will be showing overseas racing and some recorded lifestyle tripe on their ‘off’ two or three days a week, when the holiday province hold their local meetings.

Apparently rights and ownership are at the core of it and are the real dealbreakers.

While massive strides have been made in double quick time with the Gallop TV platform on the East Coast, a 4Racing press release recently confirmed that discussions are ‘ongoing’ with regards to including KwaZulu-Natal racing.

That’s cold comfort for many who enjoy the game – but those with cash will inevitably adapt, like we almost did with loadshedding and Chocolate Logs.

But what about those who don’t enjoy the comforts of uncapped data and computers at home or in their offices?

The answer to that question should be even more worrying for the racing gods, who, as you may have noticed, never – ever – talk about stupid realities like betting turnover.

In her SONA speech last week, Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Khumbudzo Ntshavheni indicated that every South African will be given access to the internet as a core utility – something like water and electricity.

“At some point, a South African household, despite whether they are rich or poor, will be given access to 10GB per month, because that is what the government will deliver,” she said.

We have heard the rhetoric before that access to the internet must be treated as a Constitutional basic human right like water or shelter.

Given the state of service delivery in our beautiful country, do we believe it, though? And that ‘at some point’ bit sounds a bit vague, frankly.

But back to the racing television mess – why do we get a feeling that we are watching the same old show – with some different actors in the lead roles?

In the post -Phumelela era, fundamental unity of the sport should be a given – but the same old parochial pudding is being served up.

Hell, we are surely in big, big trouble. Or is this just a storm in the proverbial teacup?

Please click on a block below to indicate your current state of mind – and please have your say on our comments platform:

SA Horseracing Television
Min votes count should be 1

Have Your Say - *Please Use Your Name & Surname

Comments Policy
The Sporting Post encourages readers to comment in the spirit of enlightening the topic being discussed, to add opinions or correct errors. All posts are accepted on the condition that the Sporting Post can at any time alter, correct or remove comments, either partially or entirely.

All posters are required to post under their actual name and surname – no anonymous posts or use of pseudonyms will be accepted. You can adjust your display name on your account page or to send corrections privately to the EditorThe Sporting Post will not publish comments submitted anonymously or under pseudonyms.

Please note that the views that are published are not necessarily those of the Sporting Post.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Popular Posts