From the early days of television to the present time, horse racing has needed more television exposure. The sport will never return to its halcyon days of fan support but increased TV time can greatly assist in developing the fans of tomorrow, especially since many major cities do not have racetracks for people to attend.

In regard to television, two recent announcements are promising. 

The New York Racing Association and Fox Sports have signed a deal whereby the latter will be the television home of racing at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course.  In 2019, Fox will televise 500 hours of NYRA racing and 600 hours in 2020.   This is a huge step up from the 100 hours FS2 televised in 2018.  

The other agreement is between NBC Sports Group and Ascot Racecourse.  Ascot is one of the premier race meets around the globe, and arguably the most prestigious, with longtime patronage of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.  The deal is for six years beginning in 2019 and culminating in 2025.  Coverage will be for 4 1/2 hours Monday through Friday of the meet and four hours on Saturday, the final day.  Fans with an affinity for top-flight turf racing should find this TV offering to their liking.

Television does not have the capacity it once did to reach viewers, as online streaming, the internet, and gaming have eroded TV’s audiences.  Nonetheless, television is still the best way to reach masses of people, even if programming is on cable channels rather than a major network.  While the Triple Crown races and several Breeders’ Cup races draw millions of viewers on network TV, horse racing needs more TV time between the Belmont Stakes in early June and the Breeders’ Cup in early November.  The FoxSports and NBC Sports agreements offer viewers some of the best racing available in June, July, and August.

Copyright © 2018 Horse Racing Business