In the UK, Turf TV has defeated a multi-million dollar High Court action brought by bookmakers Afternoon Greyhound Services, William Hill, Ladbrokes and BetFred relating to the image rights for horseracing.
The plaintiffs alleged that Turf TV was running a price-fixing operation that amounted to an illegal cartel because it has deals with 31 of the UK's 60 racecourses including leading tracks such as Cheltenham, Epsom and Aintree to screen their races exclusively.
Turf TV is operated by Amalgamated Racing Limited (AmRac), a joint venture between software provider Alphameric and Racecourse Media Services Limited, and was launched earlier this year to break into the horse racing industry's domination of televised racing. All coverage had previously been provided by Afternoon Greyhound Services and partner Satellite Information Services with bookmakers screening the images in their shops. After Turf TV's launch, bookmakers had little choice but to buy pictures from the 31 racecourses at higher prices than they had been paying, prompting the case.
However, in his decision, Justice Morgan stated that Turf TV's agreements did not pose a threat to competition and the break-up of the previous monopoly would encourage competition.
'All of us at Alphameric are delighted with this judgment,” said Alan Morcombe, Chief Executive Officer for Alphameric.
“Importantly, it allows AmRac to continue to develop and improve its business while we also believe that Alphameric's leisure division, which had been adversely impacted by this litigation, can return to profitable growth and, over time, regain lost momentum.
'Alphameric is now moving on and remains committed to working with our bookmaker clients. We trust that Alphameric, Turf TV and the major bookmakers who brought this case can now develop closer and better relations, which we believe will lead to a more profitable future for everybody concerned.”