Trackside gets first makeover in a decade

By Michael Guerin

Racing fans are set for improved racing coverage as the new bosses of the TAB relaunch Trackside TV with a taste of back to the future.

The relaunch will see a return of live racing to Freeview (Channels 23 and 24) so punters or racing fans who don’t have Sky will be able to watch racing and Trackside’s new and established shows.

The return to Freeview will come as Trackside’s official re-branding is rolled out this week, with new graphics and a heavy emphasis on being able to see more of the horses and dogs.

It's believed the new dividends display will have a renewed focus on fixed odds betting which now dwarfs tote betting for most meetings and is therefore a far more accurate guide of the market.

It will be the first freshen up of Trackside, which will have the “TAB” dropped from its name, since 2014 and will be the next step in Entain’s revitalisation of New Zealand racing.

Trackside TV is how most New Zealanders watch racing, with the television audience almost always larger than the live one, but the channels suffered major budget cuts when Covid slammed the breaks on New Zealand racing four years ago.

While the Trackside staff did remarkably well to keep Trackside on air, sometimes running two entire channels remotely from home, one of the biggest differences post-Covid was the far smaller numbers of meetings with presenters on track to provide crucial punting information and tell racing’s stories.

The new bosses of the TAB, Entain, came to New Zealand with a reputation for producing “content” and storytelling and that philosophy has already seen a huge boost in local racing coverage, especially at big bang events like New Zealand Cup week.

To that end Entain will be boosting its on-track presenters, including the Thursday and Friday night slots so crucial for harness racing.

Entain’s chief media officer Christopher Haigh said racing fans can expect enhanced coverage of all three racing codes.

“We’ve made a complete change to the look and feel for Trackside 1, Trackside 2 and Trackside Premier,” Haigh said.

“These are the first major changes to Trackside’s look and feel since 2014, and we’re putting the racing animal at the front and centre of these changes.

“Our new look has more space for live racing vision to be displayed, alongside providing viewers with more of the key betting information they need.”

All Trackside coverage is still able to be streamed online via the TAB website for account holders and on hrnz.co.nz.

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