ITV has announced that its horse racing coverage from 2017 will be produced by its in-house production team, as well as confirming Richard Willoughby as the channel’s racing editor.
ITV Sport Productions will be responsible for all of ITV’s racing programmes, encompassing live broadcasts of almost 100 days of racing each year across ITV and ITV4, in addition to a magazine preview programme broadcast each Saturday morning.
Willoughby brings with him a wealth of experience in racing production, having been channel editor for Racing UK for the last five years.
He oversaw the dedicated horse racing channel’s coverage of all the major racing festivals, such as Cheltenham, Grand National, Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot.
ITV signed a four-year £30m deal back in January to become the exclusive terrestrial broadcast partner for British racing from 2017, replacing Channel 4.
It has committed to showing a minimum of 34 days of racing a year on the main ITV network, with another 60 to be broadcast on ITV4.
Niall Sloane, ITV director of sport, said: “We have a first class team at ITV Sport Production, who are highly skilled and experienced as well as hugely passionate about sport.
“They have a superb track record in producing the highest quality coverage of some of the most important fixtures in the sporting calendar.
“With the appointment of Richard Willoughby, bringing with him a tremendous pedigree in racing production, we believe we have the right team in place to meet the challenge of bringing viewers the coverage this wonderful sport deserves.”
The move by ITV to produce its racing programmes in-house bucks the trend of bespoke production companies with specific and recent horse racing experience handling terrestrial coverage.
IMG have produced Channel 4’s racing coverage since 2013, taking over from long-time producers Highflyer when the broadcaster acquired exclusive UK racing rights, while Sunset+Vine had previously produced the BBC’s horse racing coverage.
Details of ITV’s presenting line-up is expected to be confirmed in July, with Sky Sports football host Ed Chamberlin, according to the Daily Mail, one of the favourites to become the channel’s lead presenter.