Although the news of the deal between RPGTV and ARC has been met with general industry acclaim, the new schedule will see a number of changes in viewing habits both in homes and the shops writes Floyd Amphlett.
I understand that the programme makers were keen to retain their ‘seven night’ format, which would probably have stretched SIS beyond its limits.
They were also keen to have a mix of graded and open racing throughout the week.
The biggest loss to the RPGTV schedule is the ‘Romford Fridays’ with no obvious open race alternative.
There will also be some regret at the loss of the Henlow Sunday night opens – with the track planning to switch that fixture to their SIS afternoon meetings.
Doncaster were impressively building their open race profile on a Monday, though the replacement of the traditional and popular ‘Nottingham Mondays’ more than negates that loss.
The other early week bonus is that great open race staple of the last decade: ‘Sheffield Tuesdays’ .
Towcester are rumoured to be concentrating their major open race efforts on Saturdays, but don’t be surprised if ARC and RPGTV start asking that some of their sought-after content should spill into Fridays.
They might also want to examine the commitments from their own traditionally open-race-shy venues at Sunderland and Newcastle – Thursdays would be an obvious call from the latter. A prize money increase would surely help attract outside entries.
My understanding is that the GMG tracks were adamant that the betting shops would not get ‘BAGS content on the cheap’ via the RPGTV coverage. It was the single greatest factor that delayed any deal being made until last week.
ARC, who have not reached agreement with LadbrokesCoral, and Betfred, among others, are flagging up that reduction in the volume of fixtures.
Spokesman Mark Kingston said: “From our point of view, this agreement is different from the past as these fixtures will not be available in betting shops.
“So the fixtures will be on RPGTV and streaming on GTV shareholders web sites. Together with the overseas deals we have signed with Tabcorp (Australia), Vermantia (Europe – particularly Greece, Spain and Italy – and ROW) and the William Hill and independent bookmakers (U.K. and Ireland). This represents another significant income stream to underpin the future of our tracks.
“The fact that these fixtures are not available in shops means that LBO’s are getting around 700 fixtures less than they used to get through RPGTV.”