SBD/November 1, 2013/Events and Attractions

NBC, Breeders' Cup Officials Keen On Santa Anita As Future Host Site

Santa Anita boasts picturesque scenery, making it a good-for-TV locale
Santa Anita Park this weekend will host the Breeders' Cup "for the second consecutive year," and the event also will "return to Santa Anita in 2014, an unprecedented decision perhaps signaling a new era: The West has won," according to Pia Catton of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Breeders' Cup President & CEO Craig Fravel said that there is "no charter that dictates the on-the-road business model." Nor has the event's BOD "adopted any formal policy for (or against) rotation." Instead, location is "part of a larger strategy to raise visibility and build an image to compete with other premiere sports events." Fravel: "We're interested in venues that enhance our brand." NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said that the Santa Anita setting "makes for good TV." Miller: "You get the benefit of a great sunset and the crowd is energized. That's part of why we like being here" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/1). In Louisville, Tim Sullivan wrote, "To look out on the landscape at Santa Anita is to wonder why the Breeders’ Cup would ever leave." Trainer Shug McGaughey said, "When people watch on TV, they'd much rather see bright, happy faces in shirtsleeves instead of people all huddled up on a gray, cold afternoon in Louisville or New York. ... I'm not sure it maybe ought not be here all the time." Sullivan noted Fravel expects to award the '15 Breeders' Cup "during the first quarter of next year, but he hopes to soon unveil a longer-term site plan that reflects more study and less 'seat-of-the-pants' planning" (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 10/31).

HERE TO STAY: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Liz Mullen reports NBC "has encouraged Breeders' Cup officials to find a permanent site for the annual event, preferably in Southern California." Miller has stated that NBC "would like the event to remain in Southern California so that the network can take advantage of the daylight and weather on the West Coast and continue to broadcast the final race, the Breeders' Cup Classic, live at 8 p.m. ET." NBC has a contract to televise the event through '15. Fravel said of having a permanent host, "That is one of the things we have kicked around, but I am not going to predict what we are going to do on that" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/28 issue).
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