The National Thoroughbred Racing Association will shift its advertising strategy this summer to target sports fans who wager on horse racing about twice a year. To that end, it will rely heavily on ads that will appear on ESPN network channels. In addition, the Breeders' Cup championship will be "repositioned" to give it greater public awareness, NTRA commissioner Tim Smith said.
The $1-million Florida Derby, a major prep race for the Kentucky Derby, will air during a special segment on SportsCenter Saturday, March 10, on ESPN2. Airtime for SportsCenter on March 10 is 6:00-7:00 p.m. (ET), with wire-to-wire coverage of the Florida Derby scheduled to be shown approximately one hour after the live running of the Grade I race for 3-year-olds from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla.
According to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, this is the upcoming schedule for races on television:
The re-entry of Magna Entertainment's seven racetracks into the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is expected to have an immediate impact on the NTRA's winter television schedule on ESPN and ESPN2, beginning with its first telecast on Feb. 3. That telecast will feature the Donn Handicap (gr. I) from Gulfstream Park and the Strub Stakes (gr. II) and San Vicente Stakes (gr. II) from Santa Anita. Both tracks are owned by Magna, whose chairman, Frank Stronach, announced on Jan. 17 in a joint statement with the NTRA that he has made a two-year commitment to rejoin the organization.
Racing and breeding news and information.
ESPN's coverage of the Three Chimneys Spinster Stakes (gr. I) draws more eyes and a higher television rating.
ESPN and espn2 will expand their coverage of Saratoga racing from 1 1/2 hours to 2 1/2 hours beginning next year.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- In the Thoroughbred world's version of the hit television show "Survivor," my money would not have been on Jim Wilburn, the impresario for racing on ESPN and ESPN2, to make it past the first couple of meetings of the tribal council. But popularity and performance are two distinct variables.
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