I have a couple of announcements from NBC Sports.
First, NBC and USA will air six prep races leading up to the Kentucky Derby in May.
CHURCHILL DOWNS & NBC SPORTS PARTNER FOR “ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY” SERIES
Three Broadcasts Encompassing Six Derby Prep Races Airing on NBC Sports & USA Network This Spring
Broadcasts to Include Racing and Lifestyle Elements Designed to Build Interest in the Kentucky Derby and Thoroughbred Racing
New York and Louisville, Ky - January 11, 2010 - Churchill Downs Incorporated and NBC Sports announced a partnership to present three broadcasts featuring six Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown prep races this spring leading up to the Kentucky Derby on NBC Sports on Saturday, May 1. The three one-hour broadcasts, two on NBC and one on USA Network, will include the Louisiana Derby, Lane’s End Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, Wood Memorial, Bluegrass Stakes and Arkansas Derby. The announcement was made by Bob Evans, President and CEO, Churchill Downs Incorporated and Ken Schanzer, President, NBC Sports.
The shared vision of Churchill Downs and NBC Sports’ successful ‘Big Event Strategy’ led to the 2009 Kentucky Derby being the most viewed Derby in two decades with a 26% increase in viewers since this strategy was launched in 2007. Each of the three, one-hour “Road to the Kentucky Derby” broadcasts will feature the races and handicapping segments in addition to lifestyle elements designed to broaden the audience for these races and to drive viewership of the Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown.
“This approach has been effective in bringing new fans to racing, and we hope to see similar success with the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series,” said Evans. “The key difference is that we promote racing to both men and women by focusing on the fan’s entire experience of racing, not just the race itself. This includes food, fashion and celebrity.”
“We value the relationship we have with Churchill Downs immensely,” said Schanzer. “Adding the broadcasts of these important Derby prep races allows us to introduce key storylines that continue to build the broadest possible audience for the Kentucky Derby and the sport of Thoroughbred racing.”
ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY:
SATURDAY, MARCH 27, USA Network - Louisiana Derby - Broadcast from Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, La. Coverage will also include the Lane’s End Stakes from Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.
SATURDAY, APRIL 3, NBC Sports - Santa Anita Derby - Broadcast hosted from Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. Coverage will also include the Wood Memorial from Aqueduct Race Track in Jamaica, N.Y.
SATURDAY, APRIL 10, NBC Sports - Bluegrass Stakes - Broadcast hosted from Keeneland in Lexington Ky. Coverage will also include the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.
And a good addition to NBC’s golf team, Rhode Islander Brad Faxon will become part of the team that already has Johnny Miller, Gary Koch, Roger Maltbie among others.
BRAD FAXON JOINS NBC SPORTS’ GOLF TEAM
NEW YORK - Jan. 12, 2010 - Brad Faxon, a winner of eight PGA Tour events and a 27-year veteran, will join NBC Sports’ Emmy Award-winning golf coverage as an outer tower commentator at multiple events in 2010. The announcement was made today by Tommy Roy, NBC Sports’ lead golf producer.
ROY ON FAXON: “Brad Faxon possesses invaluable experience that I’m confident he will articulate to our viewers. As an active player and a member of the PGA TOUR Policy Board, he has inside-the-ropes and inside-the-locker room knowledge of current players plus a broader understanding of the game.”
Faxon, who has won nearly $18 million on tour and is regarded as one of the game’s premier putters, will have the option to play as well as commentate at a number of events this season.
FAXON: “I’m very excited to join NBC Sports’ golf team. There are not many network-TV positions, so I consider this an honor. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with Dan (Hicks) and Johnny (Miller) and the rest of the NBC Sports team in the past. I was always impressed with Tommy Roy and the production group. They are committed to putting on a great show every time. I’m excited about my dual role at some tournaments as commentator and player. I’m hoping that for at least one tournament I can walk off the course and right into the booth to provide a first-hand account on the players and the course. It should add an extra dimension to the broadcast.”
Even more releases are coming up.