01/09/2015 3:57PM

Charles Town to begin broadcasting in high definition


Charles Town Races is expected to begin broadcasting in high definition “within the next several weeks,” the track announced Friday, joining a slowly growing roster of tracks that have invested in a broadcast capability that is standard in all major sports.

The investment by Charles Town, which is being made in partnership with Television Games Network, is designed to exploit the track’s niche in the nighttime simulcasting market, when competition among Thoroughbred tracks is much lighter than during the day. Charles Town will become the only nighttime Thoroughbred track to broadcast in high definition on TVG, track officials said.

“Our partnership should allow us to grow our presence in the evening simulcast market while offering our races in a much more fan-friendly and visually appealing format in the process,” said Erich Zimny, Charles Town’s vice president of racing operations. The track currently runs Wednesday through Sunday with a first post of 7 p.m.

High-definition broadcasting in racing is limited by the shallow reach of broadcasters in high-definition territory on cable and satellite systems. Only a few cable systems have made room for TVG in high-definition channel slots, though the track signals can be streamed in high-definition format.

Investing in high-definition cameras does allow a track to broadcast its in-house feed to high-definition monitors on the grounds. Thoroughbred tracks that have invested in high-definition broadcast capability include Keeneland, Del Mar, Santa Anita, Los Alamitos, Woodbine, and the three tracks of the New York Racing Association.