Greyhound racing in Ireland has embarked on a new era this month following the launch of a revised broadcast schedule by Sports Information Services (SIS).
The company is the leading supplier of 24/7 betting services to the gambling industry, providing live pictures, data and on-screen graphics to operators worldwide.
Greyhound coverage is a key element of the content SIS supplies to betting sites in Ireland and the revised 2024 schedule marks a seismic shift in how the industry will operate.
Nine Irish tracks will be impacted by the new schedule, with five them now featuring morning meetings designed to increase betting turnover.
Youghal, Tralee, Kilkenny, Waterford and Mullingar will each stage greyhound meetings during the week starting at around 11.00 am.
There will also be three weekly meetings at Limerick, Youghal and Mullingar which will start at around 2.00 pm, while Clonmel will host a Sunday evening meeting starting at 6.30 pm.
The move is designed to deliver live action into retail and online betting outlets at times more suitable to the daily habits of greyhound punters.
A more equitable share of prize money has been implemented, which is designed to ensure that all race entries are properly compensated whenever they compete.
The annual calendar in Ireland for some of the top races has been rejigged due to refurbishment work scheduled to start soon at Shelbourne Park in the near future.
The prestigious Irish Greyhound Derby has been pushed back to November, while the Irish St Leger at Limerick and Irish Laures at Curraheen Park will be brought forward.
Highlights during the early part of the year in Ireland include Clonmel’s Open Unraced competition in January and the Gold Cup at Shelbourne the following month.
However, SIS is hoping that tinkering with the schedule for the ‘bread and butter’ daily meetings will be the key to raising the profile of Irish greyhound racing.
In addition to being broadcast across the United Kingdom and Ireland, the content will also be heavily promoted in a wide range of international jurisdictions.
Paul Witten, Managing Director at SIS, says a primary element of the new schedule is to focus om delivering for greyhound tracks owned by greyhound people with a shared passion for the sport.
“We believe our approach is sensible, sustainable and positive for the industry,” Witten said.
“There will undoubtedly be minor tweaks as the schedule evolves to reflect where the balance of trainers and greyhounds sit across the tracks.
“But we now also have the flexibility to deliver a programme that reflects the needs of a changing betting industry.
“There is also a welcome increase in exposure for Irish tracks, which feature in more traditional time slots. This is a schedule we believe will deliver for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
With greyhound racing in the UK also set to benefit from improved SIS coverage, the sport is well placed to flourish on both sides of the Irish Sea.
The launch of a dedicated red-button greyhound channel on Sky Sports Racing from January 1 will also help to significantly raise the profile of the sport.