Competition Heats Up as TVG Expands Distribution

In a move that will broaden its reach to nearly 26 million homes in the United States--and perhaps heighten its competition with a rival racing network--TVG announced May 1 it has amended its distribution agreement with DIRECTV to expand the scope and duration of its carriage.

The long-term amended agreement will deliver TVG programming to more than eight million DIRECTV subscribers and strengthen TVG’s position in the marketplace, according to a release. TVG is the only horseracing network available to DIRECTV customers.

HRTV, the racing network owned in partnership by Churchill Downs Inc. and Magna Entertainment Corp., isn’t available through DIRECTV. In a March interview with The Blood-Horse, MEC chief executive officer Michael Neuman indicated HRTV was looking to expand its reach.

“TV distribution is highly competitive,” Neuman said. “Cable and satellite companies are sensitive to programming changes. DIRECTV may want to have a conversation with HRTV.”

CDI and MEC recently formed TrackNet Media Group, which is buying and selling simulcast signals. TrackNet Media and TVG, which has exclusive contracts for its most popular content, have been unable to strike a deal to share content. Thus, the competition between HRTV and TVG has gotten stiffer.

Because CDI and TVG failed to come to an agreement on renewal of exclusive contracts for CDI tracks, wagering on the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) will not be available through TVG. And as of May 1, CDI hadn’t launched its own account wagering service,

TVG will be shifted from DIRECTV’s Sports Pack into its TOTAL CHOICE PLUS and CHOICE XTRA and above packages, which will more than triple its current DIRECTV distribution. TVG will continue to be available on channel 602, the network said.

“The expanded distribution we achieve through DIRECTV will not only expose the thrill of horse racing to a broader audience, but it also reinforces TVG’s status as the world’s premier horseracing network,” TVG general manager David Nathanson said in a statement. “This is a defining milestone for our organization and underscores our commitment to providing our racetrack partners, horsemen, and ultimately, racing fans, the best the sport has to offer.”

TVG reaches U.S. households in all 50 states through cable and satellite distributors and select regional Fox Sports Net networks.


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