FOX Sports and the New York Racing Association announce most expansive tv programming agreement in horse racing history
by Pat McKenna and Eddie Motl
FOX Sports to be primary national carrier of NYRA racing beginning in 2019
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and FOX Sports today announced a long-term television programming deal that will make FOX Sports the year-round national television home for NYRA racing from Saratoga Race Course and Belmont Park.
In 2019, FOX Sports is scheduled to televise 500 hours of NYRA racing including coverage of nearly every race day at Belmont and Saratoga. The broadcast schedule will then expand to over 600 hours annually in 2020. This agreement builds upon the prior deal between NYRA and FOX Sports that resulted in more than 100 hours of NYRA coverage on FS2 in 2018.
“NYRA has been a terrific partner and we are looking forward to presenting more horse racing on a national stage than ever before,” said Michael Mulvihill, Executive Vice President of League Operations, Research and Strategy for FOX Sports. "With this commitment, FOX Sports has taken the lead in developing content in the fast-growing area of sports gaming by expanding our relationship with the most prestigious name in horse racing, the New York Racing Association."
NYRA and FOX Sports began their collaboration around the launch of the critically-acclaimed Saratoga Live during the 2016 summer meet at Saratoga, which offered 80 hours of live coverage to a national audience on FS2.
“This is a transformative agreement between NYRA and FOX Sports that will dramatically expand national television coverage of the best thoroughbred racing in the country,” said NYRA President and CEO Chris Kay. “With increased competition for wagering dollars, we recognize the importance of capturing the attention of sports fans and bettors using high quality television production to provide the best coverage and racing analysis available anywhere today, which is something our television department has been providing for the last two years.”
Reflecting the continued growth and success of NYRA’s ‘Live’ shows, FOX Sports increased its coverage of Saratoga Live in both 2017 and 2018, while adding select Belmont Park Live telecasts. Earlier this year, NYRA and FOX launched FOX Sports Saturday At The Races, which presented key Triple Crown prep races from a number of tracks around the country.
The NYRA / FOX Sports shows will be presented by The Jockey Club’s multimedia fan-development and awareness-building platform, America’s Best Racing, created in 2012 to develop new fans by increasing the profile and visibility of North America’s top thoroughbred racing events.
“The Jockey Club’s support of this expansion of horse racing on television is consistent with the recommendations from the most recent McKinsey & Company report to grow awareness in the sport. We are excited to work with NYRA and FOX Sports to promote americasbestracing.net and develop video features that will attract a new generation of fans to horse racing,” said James L. Gagliano, president and chief operating officer of The Jockey Club.
Produced by NYRA, the shows will be hosted by Greg Wolf from FOX Sports with handicapping and commentary from Andy Serling, Maggie Wolfendale, trainer Tom Amoss and former Major League Baseball all-star Paul LoDuca. Larry Collmus, NYRA announcer and voice of the Triple Crown, will provide the race calls.
“The goal of the ‘Live’ broadcasts is to educate and entertain the viewer through in-depth racing analysis paired with compelling storytelling,” said Tony Allevato, President of NYRA Bets & Executive Producer for NYRA TV. “The expansion of FOX’s horse racing programming, and its appeal to seasoned horseplayers and newcomers alike, is a positive for all aspects of the industry and we thank FOX Sports for their commitment to our sport.”
“Considering NYRA’s role as a driver of tourism and economic engine for New York State, we are particularly pleased to be able to provide even more viewers across the country with a greater appreciation for the energy and excitement found at NYRA’s historic venues,” Kay added.
Along with Saratoga Live, NYRA’s TV portfolio includes Belmont Park Live during the fall and spring and Aqueduct Live during the winter months. MSG Networks will continue to be NYRA’s regional home in 2019 and beyond, presenting tri-state viewers with more than 225 hours of coverage throughout the year. In 2017, NYRA added new markets in California via agreements with FOX Sports Prime Ticket and FOX Sports San Diego. In addition, NBC and NBCSN will continue to broadcast the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival as well as other races.
About FOX Sports
FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century FOX’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FS1, FS2; FOX Sports Regional Networks, their affiliated regional web sites and national programming; FOX Soccer Plus; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports. In addition, FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, including FOXSports.com and the FOX Sports app. Also included in the Group are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that established the FOX Sports Radio Network.
About the New York Racing Association (NYRA)
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) holds the exclusive franchise to conduct thoroughbred racing at Aqueduct Racetrack, Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. NYRA tracks are the cornerstone of New York State's thoroughbred industry, which is responsible for 19,000 jobs and more than $3 billion in annual economic impact to New York State.
Over the course of 225 days of live racing in 2017, NYRA generated $2.2 billion in all-sources wagering handle with paid attendance exceeding 1.7 million. While staging just over 5 percent of all races run in the United States in 2017, wagering on NYRA's races again accounted for more than 20 percent of all monies bet on thoroughbred racing in the United States.