Magna Entertainment announced it has entered a three-year deal with NBC to televise the Sunshine Millions. Speaking at the Alibi Breakfast at Pimlico Race Course Thursday, Magna president and CEO Jim McAlpine said the event, which was run for the first time last January, will be shown in a two-hour format over the length of the contract.
The Sunshine Millions features California- and Florida-bred horses squaring off in head-to-head competition. The format presently calls for four races each that alternately originate from Gulfstream Park in Florida and Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, outside Los Angeles.
"I think we got the competitive juices flowing with the original running of the Sunshine Millions," noted McAlpine. The feedback has been great. In our system, attendance was up 40% and wagering was up 30%, and we're convinced we can do better. So we're going to keep doing it over and over until we do."
McAlpine added that future programs could include other states such as Maryland, where Magna has purchased Laurel and Pimlico, but would come in formats outside the Sunshine Millions.
NBC covered the inaugural running of the program. The extension agreement with the network comes in the form of a time buy, where Magna purchases time directly from NBC and subsequently is responsible for selling advertising on the telecast.