Racing TV goes out – Checkmate? – Sports position

Thursday last week we celebrated the best news of the season.

The Hollywoodbets Durban July renewal 2022 will run for R5 million – the richest prize in Africa’s biggest race of all time.

Yet we begin the last week of February today with the grim and bizarre prospect that South African horse racing is in the home stretch of the sport’s biggest turning point in years.

This televised war is pure blood pinch for most of us.

Our favorite ram for as long as we can remember, the studio lights at the Rivonia Roadhouse, aka Tellytrack, the channel we loved to hate, will go out forever on Monday, February 28.

Let’s be clear – the majority of us are puzzled and still scratching our heads.

Many have asked us the question: “Does the race’s great benefactress, Mrs. Mary Slack, know about this impending time bomb”?

While some, probably wisely given the five-star hospitality, embraced the ‘loose lips sink ships’ ethos at last Thursday night’s swish, and did indeed superbly stage Hollywoodbets Durban’s launch in July, and avoided the topic, base race movers and shakers were shaking their heads.

But no one really says much – some prefer to smile and praise the lifesavers of South African racing, the mighty players of Gauteng, just like the display of humility and gratitude of politically correct horse racing.

It’s a mudstorm of massive proportions. But maybe it’s really just a big April Fool’s joke.

In a nutshell – excuse the pun – the KwaZulu-Natal races will be out in the freezing cold in terms of live TV coverage on DStv from March 1.

It also means that after the current stalemate – or ‘failure’ – our new channel 4RacingTv on 240, will show overseas racing and lifestyle guts recorded on their ‘off’ two or three days a week when the holiday province will hold its local meetings.

Apparently, rights and ownership are at the heart of this one and are the real dealbreakers.

While considerable progress has been made in record time with the Gallop TV platform on the East Coast, a press release from 4Racing recently confirmed that discussions are “ongoing” regarding the inclusion of KwaZulu- Native.

It’s cold comfort for many who love the game – but those with the money will inevitably adapt, as we almost did with offloading and the Chocolate Logs.

But what about those who don’t appreciate the convenience of unlimited data and computers at home or in the office?

The answer to this question should be even more worrying for the racing gods, who, as you may have noticed, never – never – talking about silly realities like betting turnover.

In his speech to SONA last week, the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, indicated that every South African will have access to the internet as a basic public service – something like water and electricity. electricity.

“At some point, a South African household, whether rich or poor, will have access to 10GB per month because that’s what the government will provide,” she said.

We have heard the rhetoric before that Internet access should be treated as a fundamental constitutional human right like water or housing.

Given the state of service delivery in our great country, do we believe it though? And that ‘at one point’ bit seems a bit vague, frankly.

But back to the racing TV mess – why do we feel like we’re watching the same old show – with different actors in the lead roles?

In the post-Phumelela era, the fundamental unity of the sport should be a given – but the same old parochial pudding is being served.

Hell, we sure are in big, big trouble. Or is it just a storm in the proverbial teacup?

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