The Arena Racing Company’s hopes of turning the Racing League into a major fixture in the sport have been given a boost after a deal with ITV to broadcast the event was struck.
All six of the Racing League’s summer meetings, which get underway in August, will be broadcast live on ITV4 in what is a considerable fillip for the brand.
The event had its inaugural hosting in 2021, and was considered enough of a success that ARC penned a deal that would see them oversee the competition for the next five years.
The Racing League is a team-based competition that brings trainers, jockeys and horses together with the aim of being crowned champions, with considerable prize money – more than £2 million will be offered for the 2022 renewal – up for grabs.
For the 2021 event, the teams were cobbled together to compete on behalf of a diverse range of sponsors, which included Team TalkSport and eToro Racing. But this year, the Racing League will take a leaf out of cricket’s The Hundred playbook, with each team representing a geographical region – The North, The East, London and Scotland, Wales and Ireland will all feature.
The Racing League had an average audience of 62,000 on Sky Sports Racing, but that should increase exponentially via ITV 4 – a channel available to many via their free-to-view packages.
The chief executive of the Racing League, Jeremy Wray, was chuffed to announce the link up.
“We are delighted to confirm this broadcast agreement with ITV Racing to bring the Racing League live to terrestrial television, which we see as an excellent next step for the competition.”
Meanwhile ITV’s director of sport, Niall Sloane, commented:
“We look forward to working with the team and the participating racecourses across the summer to help widen the appeal of the competition in its second year.”
Racing League Fixtures 2022
The Racing League will get underway at Doncaster on August 4, before passing through Lingfield Park, Newcastle and Windsor. The final two fixtures will take place under the lights at Southwell and Newcastle once more.
The full list of dates is:
- Week 1 – Doncaster (August 4)
- Week 2 – Lingfield Park (August 11)
- Week 3 – Newcastle (August 25)
- Week 4 – Windsor (September 1)
- Week 5 – Southwell (September 8)
- Week 6 – Newcastle (September 15)
The Thursday evening meetings should help to attract a new type of racegoer to the action, and might just have a knock-on effect to racing as a whole – very much welcome. The Racing League has already attracted a number of new sponsors to the sport, including eToro and Swish Cocktails, and the hope is that new commercial revenue will flood into horse racing as a consequence.
It has not yet been confirmed who will compete in the 2022 edition, with Wray issuing a call to arms recently to get more trainers to get involved.
? There’s still time for trainers to sign up for the Racing League!@RacingLeagueUK CEO Jeremy Wray tells @GinaBryce how over 100 trainers have already declared their interest in this year’s competition, which will include regional-based teams, live on Sky Sports Racing pic.twitter.com/UB73pWNprj
— Sky Sports Racing (@SkySportsRacing) January 1, 2022
In the 2021 edition, Team TalkSport – which featured trainers Roger Varian and James Fanshawe and jockeys Hollie Doyle and Cieren Fallon – prevailed, beating eToro Racing (Tim Easterby, Richard Fahey and co) into second place.