NTRA Signs Licensing Deal for Interactive Game

from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association

Sega Enterprises and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association have entered into a three-year licensing agreement designating Sega's Derby Owners Club-World Edition, a Thoroughbred breeding, training, and racing simulator, as the NTRA's official, branded interactive video game.

The NTRA has the exclusive right to represent Derby Owners Club to its members, and in conjunction with Sega will engage in multiple cross-promotions for the game throughout the year.

Derby Owners Club, which has not yet been rolled out in the United States, has been on the market for two years overseas, with more than 1,000 games on-site in Asia alone. Test games offered at Chicago- and Baltimore-area entertainment centers consistently have produced four-digit earnings, which makes both games the leading revenue-generators in their respective sites. As a result of increased player participation, both sites have experienced substantial increases in food and beverage sales.

Plans call for NTRA to host player tournaments and product demonstrations at racetracks and off-site venues, including Dave & Buster's restaurants/amusement centers and other high-traffic facilities in connection with summer and fall stakes races that are part of NTRA's Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships. The NTRA will also host a special chat room for players on its Web site, NTRA.com.

Derby Owners Club is a role-playing game in which up to eight players assume the roles of breeder, trainer, jockey, and owner of a Thoroughbred racehorse. Eight player satellites are situated in a stadium-like configuration in front of two 50-inch monitors that display the main action in a 16- by 19-inch "letterbox" format. Each satellite contains the basic control elements and a 19-inch monitor so players can interact with their horses independent of the others. 

Players begin by picking a sire and dam to create a fictional horse. They name the horse, create their own racing silks, and develop a training regimen for their horse designed to hone its athletic and racing skills. Once a horse has run in 20 races, players can retire it for a career in the breeding shed.

Using Sega's exclusive memory-card reader and dispenser technology, players can take their horse with them on a credit card-sized storage device. They can use their card in any Derby Owners Club-World Edition game and pick up exactly where they left off.

"This partnership will be of great benefit to both our organizations and respective industries," Sega president Alan Stone said. "Derby Owners Club is a tremendous vehicle for promoting the excitement of Thoroughbred horseracing to our industry. Likewise, patrons of Thoroughbred racing will find (Derby Owners Club) an extremely well-executed simulation of the sport of kings."