Greyhound shortage fears raised after broadcast rights split between two rivals.
Fears have been raised about a shortage of greyhounds next year when the rights to broadcast races is split between two rival groups.
The Bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Service (BAGS) has for 30 years distributed pictures through a company called SIS but will go its own way in 2018.
There are now concerns SIS, which still has the rights to broadcast some races, will need to organise more meetings but that the current dog population means they could be up to 1,000 runners short, potentially hitting betting interest from punters and thus bookmakers’ profits.
At present there are roughly 2,400 fixtures a year broadcast but SIS will only have about 900 of the existing roster left - once BAGS starts selling its own rights, thanks to deals it has with tracks including four owned by Ladbrokes Coral.
Some racing experts do not think the 900 races will be enough to satisfy bookmakers’ demand for content and suggest the moves by SIS to sign up new tracks mean it will try to aim for roughly 1,500 fixtures. This would mean a total of 3,000 meetings a year across both sets of media rights owners - roughly 600 more than there are now.
But an industry expert, who does not want to be identified, suggested the SIS offering is 1,000 dogs short - equivalent to 40pc of the existing greyhound population - of being able to fulfil those fixtures.
It could also prove difficult, the expert added, for SIS and the tracks it has deals with to find extra dogs given rival BAGS has its trainers tied into long-term contracts.
A Ladbrokes Coral spokesman said it would continue its relationship with SIS and that it was “confident we can continue to provide good quality racing from our four tracks, underpinned by our commitment to the highest levels of welfare and compliance”.
A spokesman from SIS said the number of races it would broadcast would not be affected by the changes next year and that new deals with Central Park, Henlow, Doncaster and Harlow signed in July meant it was “confident we have arrangements in place to stage top quality greyhound racing for our customers as we have for the past 30 years”.
SIS is 20pc owned by Aim-listed Catalyst Media Group, which in its most recent results said changes in media rights contracts across its business would “result in a decline in the underlying operating results [at SIS] of approximately 50pc”, which might be reduced on the back of new initiatives it is working on.
Looking at the article we are on the team with the most dogs, as I said previously... if we stick with Sheffield we won't go far wrong
What price Sheffield making another bid for the Z00 again?
It might be worth their consideration (under current circumstances) for Clive to do a deal with them to take over the BV lease from Crown Oil and allow Clive to concentrate on PB. (The lease was/is as stated elsewhere, for 15 years with 3 x 5 year tranches)
The first one due to end July 2018, so negotiations between BV/CO for lease renewal - or not, I would suspect, would be ongoing and perhaps due to start early in the new year - that is if they haven't started, or indeed already taken place!
Just another speculative observation - like many others in the pot!