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Volume 20 No. 41
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NBC adds Dubai World Cup, Epsom Derby to racing stable

NBC Sports Group has signed one-year deals to televise Great Britain’s Epsom Derby and the United Arab Emirates’ Dubai World Cup, in moves that expand the network’s global coverage and commitment to horse racing. NBCSN will carry the races.

Financial details were not disclosed. Gary Quinn, NBC and NBCSN vice president of programming, said the agreements to show the races on NBCSN were not rights deals, but would not elaborate.

“These are great, prestigious events for NBCSN,” Quinn said.

NBC has long-term deals to broadcast horse racing’s four major U.S. events — the Triple Crown’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, and the Breeders’ Cup — and has been bolstering its coverage with races around the U.S. leading into the Triple Crown in the spring and the Breeders’ Cup in the fall. Now it is expanding that coverage globally.

“We just thought this was just a natural extension,” Quinn said.

The Epsom Derby, won last year by  Harzand, was first run in 1780.

NBCSN will televise two hours of coverage of the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 25. The Epsom Derby, which was first run in 1780 and is the original “Derby” race for three-year-old horses, will be shown on NBCSN on June 3, a week before the Belmont Stakes, the last leg of the Triple Crown. NBC last year signed a three-year deal to broadcast England’s premier racing event, Royal Ascot, which begins this year. Five days of live coverage begins June 20.

NBC did one-year deals for the new races hoping “that everything goes well and we can do longer-term deals,” Quinn said.

The Dubai World Cup, which often attracts the best American horses, as well as top horses from Europe and Asia, was the richest race in the world until this year, when Gulfstream Park launched the Pegasus World Cup, with a $12 million purse.

The inaugural Pegasus World Cup ran in January over the main NBC network and drew 1.6 million viewers. NBC had a one-year deal to broadcast the race, and the Stronach Group, which owns Gulfstream and the race, has not said whether the event will return. Quinn said NBC would be interested if it does.