GRSA CEO Peter Ali this week confirmed that Greyhound Racing South Australia and Sky Channel have signed a new 5 year agreement that will provide South Australian greyhound racing with Sky coverage of up to 52 Sunday twilight greyhound meetings.
The surprising announcement came as GRSA confirmed that Sky racing has again renewed its deal to sponsor the South Australian Summer Chasing Carnival which includes the Adelaide Cup.
The announcement might also instigate some mad scrambling for Sky Channel coverage from other interstate authorities as Sky Racing’s plans to split its broadcasting amongst several channels, will necessitate an increased need for greyhound racing content.
GRSA have announced they are are already in talks with regard to further coverage of other meetings and timeslots but were unable to confirm when they will be in a position to announce those changes.
Sky Racing announced October 2009 that it planned to split its current racing product in to at least three channels including a premium thoroughbred only channel and two other channels which will carry racing from all three codes, but invariably one channel will be dominantly a split between greyhound and harness racing.
One of the major impacts of the channel split will be a need for greyhound racing and harness racing to provide more daytime and morning racing, as opposed to the traditional night time racing slot, which is quite ironic given that Thoroughbred racing who have always traditionally dominated that daytime racing are making ever more inroads in to night racing.
The changes in scheduling could be a boom for NSW who have over 40 tracks and no shortage of product, but in Victoria where breeding numbers are down and Greyhound Racing Victoria are actively discouraging breeding, the lack of tracks and lower participant numbers will leave the once premier state almost certainly unable to provide any real increase in racing content.
With Geelong set to close for an extended period of time and what seems to be constant reshuffling of the Victorian greyhound racing program, it is thought that greyhound racing looks set to revert the way things used to be with both city clubs racing twice per week every week, with Sandown racing Monday nights and Thursday night and The Meadows retaining the Saturday night and Wednesday non-penalty meetings.
However the need for an increased presence during normal work hours could be problematic for all states, as fulltime professional trainers have been reducing in numbers, not increasing and the backyard hobby trainer will find it difficult juggling work, family and greyhound racing commitments if major meetings were to move to more regular daytime racing.