HomeRacing irishThe "relations have broken down" between Horse Racing Ireland and the five...

The “relations have broken down” between Horse Racing Ireland and the five racetracks since they rejected the media rights deal

Kilbeggan, Thurles, Limerick, Sligo, and Roscommon racecourses make up the United Irish Racecourses (UIR), and they’ve expressed serious concerns about the planned deal’s unequal allocation of revenue and asked the Minister of Agriculture to step in. Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) proposed a media rights arrangement with broadcaster Racecourse Media Group (RMG) and sports data provider Sports Information Services (SIS) starting today (9 May 2023), but UIR declined to sign it. 

Direct-to-home television rights were part of the proposed five-year media rights deal that would have started in 2024 and gone until at least 2029. 

HRI named the media company a “preferred partner” that same October. Because of the unfair allocation of media rights funding, UIR—which includes the racetracks in Kilbeggan, Thurles, Limerick, Roscommon, and Sligo—has rejected the arrangement. It is anticipated that HRI will personally benefit to the tune of €7 million from the purchase and that HRI-owned racecourses will earn seven figures as a result. 

Due to this assurance and confidence in HRI’s ability to follow through, UIR signed the media rights agreement with RMG | SIS seven years ago. As a result of the deteriorating relationship between UIR and HRI, UIR Secretary Paddy Dunican has written to the Minister of Agriculture asking for help in resolving their issues so that smaller racetracks can earn a fair price for their media rights. 

Racecourse owners’ fundamental rights are being threatened, according to the organization, so the Minister should reevaluate Section 10 of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act 2001. 

According to the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act of 2021, HRI is authorized to negotiate on behalf of the industry in matters involving the transmission or relaying of any broadcast, photography, filming, or sound recording of a race fixture or any part thereof for commercial purposes.

This gives the state agency the exclusive power to bargain for the racetracks’ property rights, which may be against the Constitution. Racetracks that want to contest their share of the revenue from media and data rights have no recourse because no appeals process exists. 

Despite HRI’s assurances in 2016 that they would investigate the deals’ unequal allocation of funding, action still needs to be taken.

UIR wants what’s best for racing, race fans, and those who place bets with Outplayed accumulator calculator guide, including equality of treatment, increased awareness of racing, and larger crowds. As a result, HRI has more responsibility than usual to secure the best available terms while being open and honest about providing value to all courses fairly and equitably. 

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