Magna Entertainment Officially Launches HRTV

from Magna Entertainment

Magna Entertainment has officially launched HorseRacing TV, a 24-hour cable television network that provides Thoroughbred, Standardbred, and Quarter Horse racing from racetracks in the United States and Canada.

HRTV will show horse racing from more than 70 racetracks, along with post parades, odds, and race results for up to 15 hours a day. The remainder of the program schedule includes replays and educational programming related to horse racing.

HRTV will feature exclusive coverage of 13 racetracks owned, operated, or managed by MEC, and will have access to live coverage from more than 60 other racetracks. All live racing content on HRTV will be available for wagering, where permitted by law, via telephone or Internet through XpressBet, MEC's national account wagering system.

MEC owns Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields and Bay Meadows in California; Gulfstream Park in Florida; Lone Star Park in Texas; Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course in Maryland; and The Meadows in Pennsylvania. Other racetracks owned, operated or managed by MEC include Remington Park in Oklahoma, Thistledown in Ohio, Great Lakes Downs in Michigan, Portland Meadows in Oregon, and Colonial Downs in Virginia.

HRTV will be available to cable operators as a free basic service. The network will offer guaranteed per-subscriber carriage fees to operators in 34 states where XpressBet accepts in-home wagers, MEC owns, operates or manages racetracks, and/or horse racing television coverage is strategically important.

HRTV has secured initial launches in San Diego, Calif., where it is being offered on Time Warner Cable's digital tier, and in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania, where it has become the successor to the Meadows Racing Network in more than 900,000 analog homes.

HRTV also has reached an agreement with the National Cable Television Cooperative, which represents cable system operators serving more than 14.5 million subscribers nationally.

"It has always been part of MEC's strategy to support the growth of our racing and wagering operations with the broadest possible television distribution of live horse racing," Magna president Jim McAlpine said.

The president of HRTV is Bill Bridgen. He previously served in various sports media capacities, including vice president of affiliate relations with FOX Sports Net/Fox Cable Networks; vice president of business development for Headline Media Group; and a member of the board of directors of Season Ticket Solutions.

HRTV has also secured the services of former Golf Channel, Prime Sports, and SportsChannel executive Jim Bates.

Amy Zimmerman, an Eclipse, Emmy and two-time International Simulcast award winner, produces HRTV programming from the network's new studio at Santa Anita. Insight and analysis are provided by a team of eight on-air personalities. Kurt Hoover and Jon White, co-hosts of the longtime "Santa Anita Live" program, will host HRTV. They are joined by Peter Lurie, Laffit Pincay III, Randy Sparage, Jeff Siegel, Millie Ball, and John DeSantis.