A new network to telecast horse races was unveiled Friday by Magna Entertainment Corp., Roberts Communications Network, Inc., and Greenwood Racing, Inc. The service effectively replaces the former satellite served called The Racing Network, which ceased operations last year after failing to sign up enough customers.
According to the announcement, under a joint venture between the three entities, the private direct-to-home satellite horse racing service, named the Racetrack Television Network will show racing from Magna, Greenwood and other tracks.
Customers will be charged a monthly subscription fee for the programming that will include up to eight channels of horse racing. The network can be accessed through digital set-top box and small dish satellite receiver technology.
Magna and Greenwood each will produce and provide two multi-track channels to the service, according to the announcement. The other channels on the service will be comprised of full card simulcasting feeds from selected racetracks. A free preview service has already been launched by the network, which and will begin charging customers for subscriptions on March 1, 2002.
A subscription to the Racetrack Television Network will cost $99.99 per month, according to Magna's investor relations staff. Hardware for the service will be an additional $300 and installion will cost another $150.
"Our new service is technically compatible with the old TRN (The Racing Network) direct satellite service for which Roberts Communications Network previously provided technical infrastructure," said Todd Roberts, president of Roberts Communication. "The telecast of quality racing production by (Magna) and Greenwood over multiple channels will make this service highly desirable to racing fans, wagering customers and industry participants, such as owners, trainers and breeders."
Bob Green, chairman of Greenwood, stated: "Our experience in the U.S. and international markets has been based upon giving our players the best service possible. This has meant the development of audio, visual, data and interactive technology to portray the excitement of live horse racing, accompanied by the convenience of wagering from a location and through a medium of the customer's choice."
Jim McAlpine, president and chief executive officer of Magna, stated: "I am pleased to announce that MEC racing is now available for telecast via satellite. MEC is committed to broadening the distribution of our racing content and that of our content partners in ways that make it easy for our customers to enjoy the thrill of horse racing from home, at the office or on the road. In this way, we can better serve our existing customers while attracting new customers to our sport. This new service is the first step in the fulfillment of MEC's commitment to broader television distribution of racing content. The MEC channels forming part of RTN will complement the development of our national account wagering service, XpressBet."