My former Sky Sports colleague Ed Chamberlin has confirmed he is leaving the comfort blanket that is Sky and is joining ITV Sport to present their new look racing coverage from next year. I am delighted.
While viewers who only know Ed from seeing him present Premier League football coverage may be mystified by the switch, they shouldn’t be. Ed’s first sporting love is racing. That has long been the case.
Ed Chamberlin knows his racing and is respected by many who work in the sport.
ITV won a three year contract to produce terrestrial coverage from January 2017. Ed is leaving the security of Sky where, effectively, he had a job for life if he wanted it. Certain bosses at Sky Sports consider it a cardinal sin to even want to leave Sky, let alone walk out of the door. They rarely let such deserters back. They may make an exception in Ed’s case should racing on terrestrial television become a thing of the past in 2020.
Chamberlin is good mates with AP McCoy so if the former Champion jockey wishes to continue working in TV, I expect ITV will hire him to be alongside Ed at the feature meetings. The ITV director of sport, one time Sheffield Wednesday footballer Niall Sloane, will want McCoy on board.
Ed Chamberlin said Wednesday: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining ITV. These are exciting times with ITV returning as the home of British racing.”
A one time Ladbrokes employee, I first worked with Ed Chamberlin at Sky Sports News. He is ultra professional, cool under pressure and has a passion for racing the likes of which could not have been matched had ITV made the mistake of going for a figure from the entertainment or daytime side of television.
I hope Ed is supported by a production team as skilful and caring as all those who worked so hard on Channel 4 racing.
I would expect that, initially at least, ITV will pull in more viewers to watch racing. That is simply because if you put the same programme on ITV and Channel 4, more people would tune to ITV. That’s a habit that goes back decades.