08/08/2013 9:50AM

Fox to televise 20 stakes next year on new sports channel


The Jockey Club has reached a multi-year agreement with the Fox television network to broadcast up to 20 stakes races next year on the network’s new sports channel, Jockey Club officials announced on Thursday.

Although most of the races to be broadcast have yet to be identified, the programs will include two stakes races each and appear throughout the year on Fox Sports 1, a network that Fox is launching on Aug. 17 as part of the ever-growing lineup of networks devoted exclusively to sports on television. The first broadcast will air on Feb. 9, 2014, from Gulfstream Park, the two organizations said, and will feature the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

A joint release from the two organizations said that the broadcasts, at least in the first year of the deal, would feature races at Aqueduct, Belmont, Del Mar, Keeneland, Santa Anita, Saratoga, and Woodbine, as well as Gulfstream.

The broadcast agreement is an outgrowth of the Jockey Club’s efforts over the past several years to increase the television presence of racing, following the recommendations of consultants hired by the organization. Earlier this year, the Jockey Club reached a deal with NBC Sports, another fledgling sports network, to broadcast six prep races to the 2013 Kentucky Derby.

Although he declined to speak specifically about the plans for the NBC Sports series next year, Jason Wilson, the Jockey Club’s vice president of corporate development, said that “our plan is, kind of, status quo” for the Triple Crown prep broadcasts.

“We’re going to do what we’ve always been doing,” Wilson said.

Wilson also declined to discuss the financial terms of the agreement with Fox. Aside from the three races of the Triple Crown, television networks typically do not pay rights fees for racing broadcasts, but instead reach deals with racing organizations or tracks to split the costs of the broadcast time and share in the revenue. In other cases, tracks or organizations purchase the broadcast time outright and receive the advertising inventory to sell on their own.

Fox Sports 1 has secured programming rights to Nascar, college football, college basketball, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship, according to the network. The network will also broadcast Major League Baseball games in 2014, and will have coverage of the Women's World Cup in 2015.

Racing is seeking more broadcast time as television networks scramble for more sports programming. Many major networks are devoting more of their resources to sports programming because of the demographics of the broadcasts and because the vast majority of sports broadcasts are watched live, rather than after being recorded on DVRs. The number of viewers watching a broadcast live determines ad rates, and, as a result, revenue.


martymar . More than 1 year ago
nice to see woodbine involve
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Several from HRTV or DRF analysts would be welcome Surely nothing from TVG that's reserved for comedy segments
Tim Carey More than 1 year ago
this just means that the racing fan gets to watch 20-40 races that mean something in HD instead of the usual low def which nobody can read the saddle cloth or see the colors of the silks until they cross the finish line. so keep on filling time with horse racing
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
Nothing but cheap filler for Fox. Ratings will be brutal.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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Perl More than 1 year ago
Nowhere in his comment was there any indication of his political affiliation. You really are a troll, aren't you?
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
Hit a nerve Slew32A.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
It's all about getting exposure for the current SPEED Channel that becomes FOX Sports 1 next week. This likely helps FOX get exposure for the channel with very little downside.
Keith Valentine More than 1 year ago
This could be good news if it is on has a lead-in or out of Fox's saturday baseball coverage...if not it will be lost in the sea of "sports channels"...Most of us players are of course already logged in to DRF bets for the race and prefer to "tune out" the commentary.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Since networks have to pay such astronomical rights fees for the major sports, football, basketball, etc. it makes sense to have horse racing on for 20 events. It's more cost effective for the network, and if they can produce a great story to watch, it will generate necessary ratings. In turn, it's a tremendous opportunity for more exposure to horse racing. I like the sound of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great news, I hope they use Scott Hazelton as a host
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Excellent development for horse racing's popularity! Twenty stakes is on par with the number of football weekends per year.
1971 Whippet More than 1 year ago
Nothing worthwhile at CD? or AP? Well, the exposure seems to be more/better than what the horses have had in a while.
Lawrence More than 1 year ago
The tracks listed in the Fox/Jockey Club series so far do not include Churchill Downs or any Churchill Downs Inc. property. Churchill spokesman John Asher said the track was approached about being involved but chose to focus on its programming with NBC around the Longines Kentucky Oaks and Derby and hopes the Fox deal is successful.
charles b More than 1 year ago
It's extremely important to have professionals doing the commentary. During the derby the "celebrities" acted like jerks giving their uninformed opinions. Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey are ok. Not great. Years ago, Frank Wright a good trainer did the commentary with Charlsie Cantey in New York. He could talk to trainers and ask the right questions. Arcaro, Hartack and Bailey could talk from a jockey's perspective. The fan who watches, also bets. He or she is not interested in women's clothing or hearing idiot jokes like Dennis Miller did on the Monday night football games.
Nascar19661 More than 1 year ago
I'm pretty sure that show was on WWOR channel 9 every Saturday. Both were great on the show.
Walt Gekko More than 1 year ago
That was the show, along with one for Harness Racing from Roosevelt and Yonkers hosted by Stan Bergstein with (in order) Dave Johnson, Spencer Ross and Frank Wright. The thoroughbred show aired Saturdays at usually 6:00 PM and the harness show aired mostly on Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:30 PM. The greatest educational tool Horse Racing ever had.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
Have you seen all the nonsense surrounding football games? It is rare to have knowledgeable commentators. The public needs to be entertained first, educated second. In that order. I do have a problem with some of the race callers, though. Super callers like Denman and Stauffer see almost everything, but 'the voice of Saratoga' may as well mail in his tape recording before each race.
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
So bias you can't even give a credible opinion.
zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
You sound very knowledgeable. The best race callers give a fluid description of the race, without the pauses to remember what number is what horse. "Uhhh, that's uhhh... so-and-so!!" Like Durkin does all the time. And that's just filler between his standard sentences at different points around the track. I always wondered how Trevor could remember the horses like he does. Then one day he left the mike open, by mistake, before the race. And I heard him go over each horse's name very slowly and with great focus; his voice just louder than a whisper. I believe that's his secret. Or one of them. Vic Stauffer takes a little getting used to, but may even be better. And that's saying a lot. He sees everything; even describing the lanes the horses move in and out of. And nothing like 'And they're into the stretch!!'. Instead, he describes exactly the movements that matter from the horses entering the stretch. I guarantee you that Durkin and kind sound like a zombies once you have listened to these guys.
monmouthsummer More than 1 year ago
I agree. I am a fan, I am a woman and I really don' t care for the fashion commentary. Frank Wright & Charlsie Cantey were super. What about bringing Donna Brothers to the fore front? Julie Krone?
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
Why must there be a woman? How about a low level trainer and a knowledgeable fan/gambler that can keep him in line when he starts to spew bull crap.
Ryan Farnsley More than 1 year ago
Fox owns part of TVG. I can almost guarantee they will be doing the broadcasts.
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
They were the best hands down.