NBC Sports Group and the Breeders’ Cup announced Jan. 23 an agreement for the network to televise the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships beginning with the 2012 edition. ABC/ESPN had been scheduled to air the event for the next two years, but that agreement is superseded by the deal with NBC.
The 2012 Breeders’ Cup from Santa Anita Park in Southern California is slated for Nov. 2-3. The Fri., Nov. 2 card will be carried by the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) from 4-8 p.m. ET. The Sat., Nov. 3 action will also be carried on NBC Sports Network from 3:30-8 p.m. ET before the mothership NBC network picks up coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) from 8-9 p.m.
The Breeders’ Cup will be returning to the network on which it started, as NBC aired the event from 1984-2005. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. NBC now adds Breeders’ Cup to its coverage of all three Triple Crown races—the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes (all gr. I), as well as weekend coverage of key stakes events from Saratoga Race Course and Keeneland. This year NBC Sports Group also begins live coverage of six major prep races for the Kentucky Derby in a partnership deal with The Jockey Club.
"Bringing back this prestigious event cements the NBC Sports Group as the home of horse racing," said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports, in a statement. "Everyone here is delighted that the Breeders’ Cup has returned home."
This year will mark the first time the Classic is televised live in prime time.
The agreement between Breeders’ Cup and NBC Sports Group was described as "multi-year," but is believed to cover the next four years. NBC will air some 56 hours of horse racing coverage in 2012.