Racecourse Media Group (RMG) has announced that its Chairman, Roger Lewis, has extended his post until October 2023 in order to assist RMG transition to a new Chair.
Roger Lewis has been on the RMG Board for over 10 years during which time RMG has increased its licence fees and dividend payments to its racecourses from £45m to over £110m .
He joined the RMG Board in 2012 and was appointed Non-Executive Independent Chairman on January 1, 2019. He was due to step down in 2022 but has been asked by the Board to extend his tenure. A new Chair will be appointed in 2023.
Lewis, said: “RMG is in great shape, and it is an honour to be asked to continue to Chair the company. We have a strong board and an outstanding team of executives, led by CEO, Martin Stevenson, who together have delivered in spectacular fashion for our racecourses and indeed for the sport of racing.
“We are on track to exceed our record results of last year and we pay tribute to everyone in racing, and give thanks to our racecourses, for allowing RMG to manage their media and data rights across the world.”
Under Roger Lewis’s leadership RMG paid £110m to its racecourse shareholders in 2021. Those payments, earned through racecourses’ media and data rights, exceeded pre-Covid levels.
In the same year, RMG agreed British racecourse licence extensions for audio-visual and data rights for a new five-year term until December 31, 2028.
RMG has also been entrusted with significant broadcast rights of Irish racing since 2019, when Racing UK relaunched as Racing TV, with the strapline of “The best of British and Irish racing.”
RMG is 100% owned by its racecourse shareholders and pays 100% of operating profit back to racecourses, which, in turn, benefits the sport. This collective and collaborative approach has enabled RMG’s businesses to become the biggest single funder of British horseracing.
On the back of that approach and with long-term certainty and confidence in the business, media rights and data revenues are, this year, tracking to exceed 2021’s payments to shareholders.
Nevin Truesdale, CEO of Jockey Club Racecourses, chief shareholder in RMG, said: “I would like to pay tribute to Roger Lewis for a very effective and successful stewardship of RMG, a business which is of fundamental importance to the financial performance of racecourses and therefore to the whole sport of horseracing.
“Under Roger’s leadership, we have faced a number of challenges, in particular during the Covid pandemic, where the robustness of the RMG model was critical to maintaining racecourse financial stability in the absence of other revenue streams for a sustained period. Roger’s influence in establishing long-term deals with key commercial betting and broadcast partners during his tenure has also been hugely positive. On behalf of everyone at the Jockey Club, I would like to thank Roger for all he has done for the business.”
Martin Stevenson, CEO of RMG, added: “We are delighted Roger Lewis has agreed to stay on for almost another year. Roger has been instrumental in the development and success of RMG over the last decade and I very much look forward to continuing to work closely with Roger and the Board as we continue to invest and develop our media assets and new products. Innovations, such as enhancements on the channel – headlined by the virtual ‘green screen’ studio – the Watch & Bet product, ultra-low latency pictures, the investment in on-screen timing data graphics, and capturing the in-play opportunities are all key to the business’s continued success.
“These workstreams, allied to growing our social media audience, securing increased ITV coverage and enhancing international exposure and revenues, will contribute to directing more eyeballs on to our racing and therefore will drive betting turnover, subscriptions, and sponsorship opportunities for the sport. RMG is one the most successful sporting and media rights companies in Britain and Ireland and I look forward to working with Roger in 2023 to take RMG to even greater heights.”
Roger Lewis has held senior positions at the BBC, ITV, Classic FM, EMI and Decca and was GCEO of the Welsh Rugby Union and the Millennium Stadium for nine years. He has held and holds a number of senior positions in the cultural sector for the UK and Welsh Governments.