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Kentucky Derby preps to get extensive live NBC coverage
By Matt Hegarty
Most of the major prep races for the Kentucky Derby will be broadcast live this year on the NBC Sports Network, according to a Tuesday announcement from the Jockey Club, which is co-funding the broadcasts, and NBC.
Live coverage of races will include the March 30 Florida Derby and Louisiana Derby, the April 6 Santa Anita Derby and Wood Memorial, and the April 13 Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby. With the exception of the Blue Grass, which will appear on NBC during a 90-minute broadcast, all the races will be shown on the NBC Sports Network.
The schedule also includes a 30-minute broadcast March 23 on NBC Sports Network previewing the Triple Crown season.
NBC Sports Network, which is part of the sports package on most cable and satellite systems, is currently available in 80 million households, according to network distribution figures. By comparison, ESPN is available in approximately 100 million households. NBC has been aggressively seeking sports content for the network as a possible competitor to ESPN and the Fox family of regional sports networks.
The six races set to be broadcast by NBC and NBC Sports Network all occupy the highest tier of a new points system implemented by Churchill Downs determining starters for the Kentucky Derby. Winners of the races will be assured of starting berths in the race.
The Jockey Club decided last year to underwrite a series of broadcasts for Triple Crown preps as part of a five-year commitment to fund racing marketing initiatives. NBC also holds the broadcast rights to the Triple Crown races and the Breeders’ Cup.
NBC SN channels are part of Cablevisions "additional cost" packages in Nassau County Long Island. I get basic and some other extra Optimum features (HD,etc.), which includes CBS SN, but alas, NBC SN is extra
how many times do you lose before you win a $1000. just to be taxt by the Fed 30% and state , and now in IL. you have to go to a track to bet so thats $25 in gas before you make a bet .I think i will be watching for sometime and one day it will all be gone.
Racing needs more exposure. As it stands now, so many people see it as a corrupt or dying gambling business. I think there is a need to truly market racing as a sport, like NASCAR has done. Don't just work to find a niche audience, broaden the spectrum. That would mean more media coverage, finding ways to keep horses running longer so as to develop a following and make the tracks family friendly. It won't happen overnight, but it can happen. Good for NBC for televising these races! derbydeals.com
I agree with Mine that bird, racing has never marketed itself or made a true effort to present itself to the general public. The fact that this industry is falling in recognition to the average sport fan, is that it is locked into the "past". It is obvious that it is not the only game in town, lottery, online pocker, casinos just about everywhere have sliced the gambling dollar from the industry. It is true a significant amount is still bet on horse racing, but I feel it will dwindle to the point that just a few tracks will exist and just about all wagering will be done electronically. The days of packed tracks, with excitement will be sadly be lost. To M.T.B. comment about not getting his peers to be interested in the sport, I do not have the answer. I was introduced, with multiple generations of my family being race track followers. I love the sport, but have always felt tracks treated the general two dollar bettor with contempt. This is perhaps one of the problems of the sport, the sport needs a commisioner who has the power that NFL, MLB, NBA etc,, have. Why not have minin PP's with telecasts, with detailed explaination. Have more well spoken personality's on the telecast. Have more discussions on wagering, ( this is what makes this sport run), explain what BSF are, track bias, trends from previous runnings, plenty of video samples of past races (preps for the present stakes ). The human interest stories are fine if held to a mininum. Spend more time on each horse in a race. Give jockey/trainer combo percentages, which jockes are dominant in Grade 1 Stakes, as well as trainers. GIVE AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE. Work to promote where live streaming that is free is available. In other words, make a concerted effort to promote the sport, explain it, give plenty of information, then let the product ( the horses and riders) perform to capture the interest of the public.
They need added focus to races on the undercard. I just watched the Westminster dog show with my wife, she loves it, just dogs walking in a circle. She loves horse racing too because she loves horses. So they need to focus the camera on the horses in the paddock and post parade. Along with that they need to add jockey and trainer stats or like a mini PP. For example in baseball when a guy is up to bat they have a little box telling you his batting average, etc. and how he is doing for the day. A new fan is not going to know what it means if a horse is trained by Pletcher, ridden by JV. I say this as basically a newer fan, since the 2009 Oaks/Derby, I attended because my future wife lived in Louisville. I really enjoyed myself those two days but found it took around a year of my own effort to really "get into it." Unfortunately, I have only been able to get one of my friends into the sport. I feel that the product just isn't marketed or presented well.
Saying on NBC Sports that nobody will get to seem them is a dope of a statement. Would you rather them just be on the race networks? C'mon....at least NBC is giving horse racing the exposure it deserves. Get the Santa Anita race caller....what does a number have to do with visiting the channel, all my HDs are in 800's anyway, at least I can now watch on NBC Sports in HD.
Two additional thoughts on this potentially decent promotion for pre-triple crown races. I realized the other day while watching other sports events that one thing racing doesn't do is broadcast any of the cheering or enthusiasm from the crowd, unlike pretty much every other sporting event on TV. When you watch a race replay and you hear the roar of the crowd, it really adds a whole other element to the event...and certain to draw the interest of casual fans. Most televised races are boring as hell for the non-fan. You are just watching horses going around a track. No excitement. I think NBC and others need to add a little more "soundtrack" to the event. Number two is to please, please, please find a race caller other than Larry Collmus. He has the most boring and disengaging voice for a race caller I have ever heard. It really does not add anything to the race call. Please, find someone with an authoritative voice for these events. It really makes a difference to the casual (and hardcore) fan.
98% of the amercian public don't know diddley about "The Game"...Thats the damn Shame...
Agreed that NBC and NBC Sports Network are two totally different animals. 98% of people don't even know that MBCSN even exists (I think it's 520 on my system - haven't gone there in months - and I'm a sports nut). I hear the sound of one hand clapping. As for Street Sense - that was a repeat move, as he also used a poly prep for his BC Juv win. So he went poly to CD win, twice - nice! The points change everything - won't know much until the 50 pointers start to fly, really!!!
In the last 5 years of the KY derby the winners came from these preps: 2012 - Santa Anita Derby 2011 - Spiral Stakes 2010 - Arkansas Derby 2009 - Sunland Derby 2008 - Florida Derby So why is Keeneland's Bluegrass getting top spot on a virtually useless prep? The Santa Anita Derby, Arkansas Derby, Wood Memorial and Florida Derby are much better choices and the derby winner is much more likely to come from one of these races. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that Horse Racing is on national TV, and Keeneland is a safe place to start, by all means. Some of you will argue about my statement, rightfully so, Street Sense won the derby via a prep in the bluegrass. But Street Sense was an exceptional colt and so was the rest of the 2004 crop.