TCT Contract Parameters Tied to TV Deals

The amount of money Breeders' Cup contributes to the Thoroughbred Championship Tour beginning in 2006 will hinge on the television contracts negotiated this year by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association for next year and beyond.

The Breeders' Cup board of directors approved an agreement with the TCT during a Jan. 9 meeting. The "tripartite agreement" includes the NTRA, said D.G. Van Clief Jr., president of Breeders' Cup and commissioner of the NTRA.

In 2004, Breeders' Cup agreed to give the TCT, a proposed series of major racing days to link the Triple Crown and Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, $18 million over six years. Breeders' Cup will contribute $3 million a year, but the number of years won't be known until the TV deals are signed.

The NTRA is responsible for lining up TV time. The contract for coverage of the World Thoroughbred Championships, for instance, expires this year.

"The TCT deal will coincide with the terms of the next television agreement," Van Clief said. "We anticipate negotiating a TV deal for not only Breeders' Cup day but the TCT races."

The TCT contract approved by the Breeders' Cup board included many of the fundamental points agreed upon last year, Van Clief said. In a recent interview, TCT chief executive officer Dan Metzger, also president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, said he hoped to have the agreement in place by the first quarter of 2005 to facilitate a series start-up in 2006.