Grand National start time changed for 2016 Aintree edition
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 1, 2015
It has been announced that the 2016 Crabbie’s Grand National will take place an hour later than previously scheduled, at 17:15 BST on Saturday, April 9th.
Attracting a wider TV audience for the Aintree showpiece is a major reason behind this switch, as the race time falls between the conclusion of 3pm kick-offs in football and the evening fixture, usually broadcast on Sky Sports.
Coral make 2015 winner Many Clouds their 20/1 favourite at this very early stage, some four months before the race, to replicate his victory at the Merseyside track.
“One race that attracts the wider general public”
“The Crabbie’s Grand National is by far the biggest single event in the racing year by betting turnover, with upwards of £100m staked on the race across the UK industry,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
“It remains the one race that attracts the wider general public, and with an extra hour to place bets in 2016, turnover is likely to increase from this year.”
“The later start time, coming after the conclusion of the 3pm kick-off football matches, should also ensure higher audience numbers and therefore even wider engagement in the race, and so it is hard to see any negatives with this move.”
Over 600m people watched the Grand National worldwide this year, and the annual Aintree April affair is broadcast on both the BBC and Channel 4 on UK terrestrial TV.
John Baker, Regional Director of the Jockey Club’s North West branch, welcomes the change of race time. “This is a positive move for the Crabbie’s Grand National,” he said. “We’re excited about the possibility of showcasing the greatest chase in the world to a wider national and global audience.”
Ed Havard, Head of TV events at Channel 4, added: “The 17.15 slot follows the results round-up on BBC Radio 5 live, providing fans with the opportunity to listen on their journeys home.”