ESPN, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), and Triple Crown Productions announced an agreement Wednesday to renew multiple horseracing series and programming through 2008.
"At a time when a sustained, cohesive television presence is a competitive must for all major league sports, we are excited to continue our long-term partnership with ESPN and the ESPN family of networks," said Tim Smith, the NTRA's commissioner. "This long-term commitment from ESPN gives us the ability to recruit additional corporate marketing partners for horseracing."
The deal extends the "Citgo Racing To The Kentucky Derby " and "Road To The World Thoroughbred Championships" series broadcast on ESPN and ESPN2, as well as the networks special event programming of the Triple Crown races and stakes races on their supporting cards. The extension also covers the Triple Crown races post-position draws; coverage of thew Kentucky Oaks, Black-Eyed Susan and Acorn Stakes; the recently revamped weekly magazine show "Long John Silver's Wire To Wire," formerly "RaceHorse Digest;" the Eclipse Award show; and other live programming.
"ESPN is committed to delivering the best in thoroughbred racing programming, so it is only natural we would enhance relationships with the Triple Crown and the NTRA to televise the biggest and most important events in the sport," said Mark Shapiro, ESPN senior vice president and general manager, programming.
This year's schedule for "Road To The World Thoroughbred Championships" broadcasts will be announce in June.
"Our relationship with ESPN over the years has given the Breeders Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and Thoroughbred racing in general an immensely valuable platform for delivering our sport to the public," said D.G. Van Clief, Jr., president of Breeders' Cup Limited. "We are delighted to extend that relationship through 2008."
NTRA Productions, a subsidiary of the NTRA, and Winnercomm produces ESPN's horseracing programming.
"With our roots in horseracing and with our long relationship with ESPN, we are proud of our role in continuing this successful partnership," said Jim Wilburn, president of Winnercomm and NTRA Productions.