TVG Cites Veto, 'Industry Infighting' for Belt-Tightening

As a result the company's first comprehensive review of its television programming, the TV Games Network announced Thursday that it has decreased production costs and added enhanced handicapping and racing information for viewers.

The news comes just a day after the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, which is in partnership with TVG, received word that up to 20 racetracks were prepared to leave the organization Friday. No word had been received as of early Thursday afternoon.

The relationship between the NTRA and TVG has generated discord, particularly among the Mid-Atlantic racing associations and other racetrack officials who believe the NTRA should not compete with its members. The NTRA is said to be reviewing its deal with TVG, which is required to meet certain performance standards.

TVG had banked on having access to California, but Gov. Gray Davis vetoed legislation that would have authorized account wagering. Now, TVG will reduce expenses in various operational areas.

"As a result of the veto in California, and continued industry infighting, we felt it was only prudent to take this action," TVG president Mark Wilson said in a statement. "Market access for account wagering has been slow to develop over the past year, and we depend on market access to gain television distribution, deploy our interactive wagering technologies and, ultimately, generate revenues and profits.

"We remain hopeful that this situation will improve in the coming months, and will continue to produce high quality live racing, something our industry never previously enjoyed before the creation of TVG."

The new programming schedule, which debuted Wednesday, allows TVG to focus more attention and resources Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. On Mondays, Tuesdays, and during the late evening each day, programming will be geared toward a "limited viewer demographic."

The schedule is as follows:

Trackside Starting Gate -- Monday and Tuesday, noon-8 p.m. Full cards from each track, and comprehensive handicapping and odds information, will be offered.

Trackside Live! -- TVG's flagship program will air from noon-8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The show will feature live acing from TVG's partner tracks in a hosted "sports desk" format with analysis, advanced graphics, racing information, real-time odds, features, and interviews.
It will continue to be produced on-location from partner tracks for special events such as the Kentucky Derby, Breeders' Cup, All-American Futurity, and the special workouts show.

Trackside Night games -- 8 p.m.-midnight. Full cards from each racetrack will be offered, as will handicapping and odds information.