Channel 4 has announced that it has awarded IMG Sports Media the four-year production contract for the corporation's exclusive horseracing coverage from January 2013.
As expected Clare Balding will join Channel 4 as lead presenter for the broadcaster's coverage, which will feature the John Smith's Grand National and Royal Ascot for the first time from next year.
The deal, which will be in operation from January until December 2016, runs alongside Channel 4's four-year media agreement with Racecourse Media Group. In addition, Channel 4 Racing sponsors, Dubai, have signed a new four-year extension deal until 2016.
"A combination of familiar and new talent" is promised in front of the camera while behind the scenes, Carl Hicks, BBC sport senior programme editor, who edited the London 2012 Olympics, will join IMG as executive producer overseeing around 90 days a year of live terrestrial horseracing coverage in addition to the Morning Line.
Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4's sports editor, said: "After a rigorous and invaluable tender process, I am looking forward immensely to working with IMG Sports Media to deliver our vision for the sport.
"Their pitch was compelling and crucially contained deep racing expertise allied to innovative broadcasting proposals. The winning bid hails the arrival of a new era in broadcasting for the sport at a time when the industry is moving forwards with real momentum."
Of Balding, who was widely lauded for her presenting role on the BBC during the Olympics, Aitchison continued: "Clare's arrival is superb news for Channel 4 and the production team. Quite simply she is the sports broadcaster of her era and for her to be heading up our coverage across the year is extremely exciting."
Although she has shown herself more than capable of covering other sports, Balding is delighted that she has the opportunity to continue presenting horseracing.
She said: "I am absolutely thrilled that Channel 4 has asked me to be a part of their new racing team.
"Racing is my 'home' sport and I am delighted that I will still be part of its coverage on TV. I am excited by Channel 4's plans for their coverage and the way in which they have committed to expanding the profile of jockeys, trainers and horses.
"I look forward to working with IMG Sports Media who have a high quality reputation for sports programming."
13 August 2012