This just in to the Fang’s Bites inbox, NBC Sports and Churchill Downs have announced a new five year agreement to air the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby. This was announced today.
Under the agreement, NBC will air the Derby through 2015 at a reduced rights fee (according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell) and include the Kentucky Oats, Kentucky Derby Day programming, plus coverage of the Red Carpet as celebrities enter Churchill Downs.
We have the official announcement from NBC Sports.
CHURCHILL DOWNS AND NBC SPORTS RENEW KENTUCKY DERBY AGREEMENTNEW YORK – October 7, 2010 – Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) and NBC Sports have reached a five-year agreement in principle extending the network’s exclusive rights to the Kentucky Derby through 2015. The announcement was made today by Bob Evans, President and CEO, Churchill Downs Incorporated and Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics. The new agreement extends the partnership, which began in 2001. The agreement also includes rights to the Kentucky Oaks and Derby and Oaks day programming, including coverage of the Kentucky Derby Red Carpet. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.“Our approach of showcasing four key elements surrounding the race – food, fashion, party and purpose – has elevated the Kentucky Derby from simply an iconic sporting event to a transcendent cultural experience,” Evans said. “Together, NBC and Churchill Downs have changed the presentation of horse racing on TV, and it paid off earlier this year with 16.5 million viewers. We’re excited to continue our relationship and build upon the momentum we’ve created over the past several years. NBC’s combination of world-class sports programming and a spectrum of news and entertainment assets make it an ideal partnership for Churchill Downs.”“I don’t think America truly moves to springtime until the first Saturday in May and I am delighted that we will be bringing this iconic American event to homes across America for five more years,” Ebersol said. “We’re excited to extend our relationship with the Derby and our business partnership with Churchill Downs, a partnership that is one of the finest examples of two organizations coming together to build an event. The extraordinary growth the Derby has experienced in recent years is a testament to the vision of Bob Evans and his team at Churchill Downs who have worked so closely with Ken Schanzer and Mike McCarley at NBC Sports – I thank and congratulate them on creating a successful partnership.”CHURCHILL DOWNS AND NBC SPORTS ‘BIG EVENT STRATEGY’ DRIVES RECORD VIEWERSHIP: In the 10 years that CDI and NBC Sports have been in business together, the Kentucky Derby is now seen by 7.4 million more viewers than the last Kentucky Derby broadcast by ABC in 2000 (16.5 million vs. 9.1 million, up 51 percent).The shared vision of Churchill Downs and NBC Sports’ successful ‘Big Event Strategy’ to assemble the broadest possible audience led to the 2010 Kentucky Derby being the most-watched Kentucky Derby in 21 years, in addition to the year prior which was the most-watched Derby in 20 years. Last year’s Kentucky Derby averaged 16.5 million viewers, the most watched Kentucky Derby since 1989 when Sunday Silence won the Derby (18.5 million).The Kentucky Oaks, which aired on NBC Universal-owned Bravo the last two years, saw a dramatic shift in its viewership. The average age of the viewer dropped by nearly a decade (58.1 on ESPN to 49.1 on Bravo) and the male-female audience skew was much closer to the audience delivery for the Kentucky Derby.
The Kentucky Derby stands as America’s oldest continuously held major sporting event; the 137th Run for the Roses is Saturday, May 7, 2011.
More coming up.