Downbeat Balding considers options
BBC racing anchor Clare Balding will not be “rushing into any decisions” after the corporation relinquished all of their live televised interest in the sport.
Channel 4 is to show all terrestrial racing from 2013, including the Grand National, Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, in a contract that is due to last for at least four years.
Balding has, in recent years, become synonymous with BBC racing but has already been linked with a possible transfer to Channel 4 when the broadcaster assumes televised autonomy of the sport, and although disappointed by the news, Balding, who works for the BBC in a freelance capacity, said on Twitter she would not be making any hasty decisions.
She said: “Desperately sad that BBC TV has lost all rights to cover horse racing. I’ve worked with some wonderful & talented folk over the last 16 yrs.
“I am immensely proud of everything we have done on BBC TV & of the team I have worked with at BBC Sport. I’ve given it my life & soul. I’m not rushing into any decisions about what I will do in the future. 2012 is a busy enough year to keep me on my toes & then we’ll see.”
Willie Carson has been Balding’s co-presenter on BBC racing for many years and the five-times champion Flat jockey was saddened by the news.
He said: “The BBC have been involved in racing since the year dot. BBC is a national broadcaster throughout the world – unfortunately racing is going to lose. BBC giving up racing is sad.”
Sir Peter O’Sullevan was the BBC‘s racing commentator for 50 years until his retirement in 1997.
He was dubbed the “voice of racing”, and described the loss of the channel’s coverage of the sport as a “sad development”.
He said: “It’s very poor. It’s been on the cards for a while and the BBC‘s lack of enthusiasm has crystallised into this decision. I think it is very regrettable for a national broadcaster to want to opt out of one of our traditional premier sports. It appears to me to be fairly unacceptable.”
Written by Mar 20th, 2012.on