Place Your Bets: Breeders' Cup Hopes Move To NBC, Primetime Draws More Viewers
Breeders’ Cup Senior Dir of Event Communications Jim Gluckson said NBC Sports has made a "strong commitment" to horse racing by signing a multiyear deal to air the annual event, and he added he believes the move of the Breeders' Cup Classic to primetime will result in a "lot more viewers." Gluckson said of NBC, "They have created an attractive multiyear proposal for us, making it a win-win for all parties. ESPN has been a great partner for the past six years and we’re still working with them for the global distribution of the Breeders’ Cup. They still have the international rights" (Molly Hogan, THE DAILY). NBC Sports VP/Communications Adam Freifeld said that “nothing in the contract requires the Classic to be in prime time.” However, he noted Santa Anita hosting the '12 Breeders' Cup "provides the opportunity” for the primetime exposure (Louisville COURIER-JOURNAL, 1/24). The DAILY RACING FORM’s Matt Hegarty notes NBC has been “rapidly attempting to turn NBC Sports Network into a major sports broadcaster, and the network has recently struck deals with the National Hockey League to bolster its programming.” The net currently “holds the broadcast rights to the three races of the Triple Crown and reached an agreement late last year with the Jockey Club to broadcast prep races for the Kentucky Derby.” In addition, the net “has an agreement with the New York Racing Association to broadcast live races from Saratoga Racecourse.” Freifeld said that NBC’s family of networks “plans to broadcast 56 hours of horse racing programming this year, up from 5 ½ hours two years ago.” Both Freifeld and Gluckson noted that the two parties “have not yet decided on staff for the broadcasts, including the racecaller” (DAILY RACING FORM, 1/24).