BBC odds on to lose Grand National rights in new 'crown jewels' blow

BBC odds on to lose Grand National rights in new 'crown jewels' blow

BBC Sport could be set to lose all their remaining horse racing coverage to Channel 4 from 2013, according to reports

Final hurdle: The BBC could lose their Grand National rights to Channel 4 from 2013

The BBC could be set to lose another of Britain's "crown jewels" of sport with reports that the corporation could lose their Grand National television coverage to Channel 4.

It is suggested that the Beeb have offered an increased sum for the renewal of their three-year deal, which expires at the end of this year.

But it is believed that Channel 4 have doubled their offer from the previous deal and are now in pole position to claim Britain's showpiece race.

The corporation paid £7.5m for the broadcasting rights three years ago, which also includes the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot,

If Channel 4's bid proves successful, it would leave the BBC with no horse racing rights at all - with October's Champion Stakes at Ascot set to be the last race broadcast on the BBC under the current deal.

Channel 4 is already a regular horse racing broadcaster and would be considered a low-risk alternative to the BBC.

Read Jim Shelley's blog:

Negotiations are currently ongoing, and some believe Channel 4 may be poised to announce the deal during their coverage of the Cheltenham Festival this week.

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A spokeswoman from Channel 4 said: "We remain committed to horse racing and we have made various competitive offers.

"There is nothing more to be said at this time."

The BBC is reducing its sports rights budget by 15% and has recently forked out for long-term deals for the Six Nations and Wimbledon and is expected to continue for Premier League highlights.

It recently had to team up with Sky to continue showing Formula One and has lost many major football events, including the FA Cup final.

Last year it was reported it was considering sharing coverage with either ITV or Channel 4 for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, another 'crown jewel' occasion.

Football’s governing bodies tried last year to get the World Cup and European Championship off the 'crown jewels' list.

They argued that live matches screened free on channels such as BBC or ITV affected their bargaining rights with TV companies.

But judges said the World Cup and European Championship were single events that cannot be divvied up at will.

What are the crown jewel sports?

These are the nation's big sporting occasions that the Government insists must be shown on free-to-air television channels.

• World Cup final - shared between BBC and ITV
• UEFA European Championship final - shared between BBC and ITV
• FA Cup final - ITV
• Scottish FA Cup final (in Scotland) - BBC
• Olympic Games - BBC
• Wimbledon - BBC
• Rugby League Challenge Cup final - BBC
• Rugby World Cup final - ITV
• The Grand National - BBC
• The Derby - BBC
Does it matter if the BBC loses the rights to the Grand National to Channel 4? Add your comments below.