MEDIA: Mirror in £10m deal to boost horse racing's appeal

The Mirror newspaper has signed a £10m deal to provide press

coverage and reader promotions from now to the end of 2002 to broaden

the appeal of horse racing.



The paper's publisher, MGN, put together the agreement with Discover

Racing, which was formed by the Racing and Betting Marketing Group to

promote racing as a family day out.



The deal could prove a model for MGN's recently-formed strategic

business development unit, which is tasked with finding 'across the

line' affinity packages in a variety of sectors.



The move coincides with plans to bring forward the abolition of gambling

duty hitherto paid by those placing bets. This would bring them in line

with betting online and at racecourses and, the racing industry

believes, could increase betting turnover by up to 40 per cent from

October.



The Mirror deputy editor Des Kelly is yet to appoint a dedicated

editorial contact for the Discover Racing project. A spokesman admitted:

'It is early days. The editorial schedule is yet to be agreed.' But he

said the participation of the Sunday Mirror, Sunday People and Trinity

Mirror's regional papers was being investigated.



MGN's specialist title, Racing Post, will be involved in a separate

agreement.



He said: 'People think racing is expensive, elitist, intimidating and

that the rules regulating betting are unfathomable.' The campaign would

seek to prove this was not the case, he added.



Discover Racing was originally trialled in Scotland, with the intention

of using below the line advertising support, until MGN offered editorial

backing.



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