10/21/2011 9:35AM

Breeders' Cup: Television coverage split amongst ABC and two ESPN channels


Major-network television coverage of the Nov. 4-5 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs will be split between three networks within the ABC/ESPN family of channels, according to the organization, and will not include live coverage of the first Breeders’ Cup race on Saturday, the Marathon.

For the Friday card, coverage will begin at 4 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2 and ESPN3 and conclude on those networks at 8 p.m. The post time for the first of the six Breeders’ Cup races scheduled for the Friday card is 4:10, with the last race, the Ladies’ Classic, scheduled to go to post at 7:30.

The Saturday card will require viewers to switch between channels early in the card because of ABC’s and ESPN’s extensive coverage of college football on Saturday. Coverage will begin on ABC at 2 p.m. Eastern, 40 minutes after the running of the first Breeders’ Cup race, the Marathon, and two minutes prior to the running of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Coverage will switch to ESPN and ESPN3 at 3:30 p.m. and run through 7:15. The post time of the last Breeders’ Cup race of the day, the Classic, is 7 p.m.

The Marathon will be televised live on Television Games Network, which is available in approximately 36 million households in the U.S. through both major satellite carriers and selected cable networks.

Last year, when coverage was also split between the networks, coverage of the Saturday Breeders’ Cup card on ESPN was unavailable for 22 minutes after a college football game between Michigan and Illinois went into overtime. College football games typically generate much higher ratings than the Breeders’ Cup.