07/16/2007 11:00PM

Cup races to be live on Internet


The 11 races of the Breeders' Cup World Championships will be streamed live over the Internet for the first time this year on the Breeders' Cup's website, at the same time that the races are being broadcast live on ESPN, Breeders' Cup announced on Tuesday.

The live streams will be available at breederscup.com during the running of the races on Oct. 26 and 27 at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. The broadcast will be the same that is sent to simulcast sites around the country, according to Jim Gluckson, a spokesman for Breeders' Cup, and not the ESPN production that is broadcast live.

Last year, a live feed of the ESPN broadcast was available on espn360.com, a broadband service owned and operated by ESPN-TV that is available on mobile devices.

Providing live streaming of an event that is already being broadcast live on television on a separate platform is a rarity in the sports broadcasting market, which relies on advertising revenues to recoup rights fees. Breeders' Cup and ESPN's eight-year broadcast agreement, however, is a revenue-sharing deal that does not adhere strictly to a typical rights contract.

Len DeLuca, the senior vice president of programming and acquisitions at ESPN, said that ESPN is attempting to cater to sports fans who are increasingly turning to alternate media sources in allowing the same live event to be shown in two formats.

"It takes an enlightened, cooperative rights-holder," DeLuca said. "The ultimate goal is to reach more fans, and we can all benefit by sharing."

Breeders' Cup also announced on Tuesday that the company's website is going to be redesigned to draw more attention to the leaders in each of the 11 race divisions, and that past-performance information of contenders for the races will be available free of charge at the site.

The past performances will be available by horse, but Breeders' Cup does not plan to generate a program-type collection of past-performance data that will be available for free before the event, according to Gluckson.

"What you'll do is find a horse, click on the horse, and then you'll have all the past performances," Gluckson said.

The data will be provided by Equibase, the industry-owned company that also provides data to Daily Racing Form.