Tom Durkin April 26 announced his decision not to renew his contract to call the Triple Crown races this year for NBC Sports.
Churchill Downs Inc. is partnering with NBC Sports to televise three, one-hour programs of key prep races on the Triple Crown trail in 2010, it was announced Jan. 11.
Though numbers fell short of last year's figures, NBC Sports said the television viewership for the May 7 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) reflects the race's status as a "premier" network television event.
Officials of Churchill Downs, the Maryland Jockey Club, and the NBC Network Wednesday discussed the new contract under which the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I) will be televised.
NBC Sports' broadcast of Smarty Jones' win in the 129th Preakness Stakes (gr. I) Saturday delivered a 6.1 national rating / 15 share for the full telecast, which is the best since 1990 and a 22% improvement over last year's 5.0/13, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 1990 Preakness, won by Summer Squall, generated a 7.2 rating/21 share.
NBC Sports' broadcast of Smarty Jones' win in the 130th Kentucky Derby was watched by 17 million -the second-biggest Derby audience since 1992 and an increase of 17% over last year's total audience of 14.5 million viewers, according to NBC Sports Research estimates.
The Kentucky Derby (gr. I), Preakness (gr. I), and Belmont Stakes (gr. I) can be seen this year for the first time in the new high definition, digital television format.
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Breeders' Cup, and NBC Sports have agreed to a four-year extension that will keep the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on NBC through 2005, officials from the organizations announced Tuesday at a press conference in New York City. The Breeders' Cup has been televised on NBC since it began in 1984.
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