Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) and NBC Sports have announced a partnership to present three broadcasts featuring six Kentucky Derby and Triple Crown prep races this spring leading up to the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands 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, Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby. The announcement was made Jan. 11 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 more than 26% increase in viewers since the strategy was launched in 2007. Each of the three, one-hour “Road to the Kentucky Derby” broadcasts will feature stakes 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,” Evans said. “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,” Schanzer said. “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 – Toyota Blue Grass Stakes – Broadcast hosted from Keeneland in Lexington Ky. Coverage will also include the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.