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Churchill, NBC To Expand Derby Coverage

Published: January 13, 2010 8:53 am ET

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Churchill Downs is seeking more NBC coverage of pre-Kentucky Derby events in order to promote thoroughbred racing. So the two have entered into an agreement, in which NBC will show six important races leading up to the big one in three one-hour broadcasts entitled “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”

The deal is not a freebie, however. Churchill will pay up to $2 million for the coverage. It is a one-year contract, but Churchill says it hopes to make it multiyear. Happiest of all, we presume, is the talent crew, with six additional big checks for their work on the telecasts of the Louisiana Derby from Fair Grounds, Lane’s End from Turfway Park, Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita, Wood Memorial from Aqueduct, Blue Grass from Keeneland, and Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park.

Churchill and NBC are calling the coverage part of their “big event strategy,” and will include stories on Derby fashions, celebrities and other off-course features, a number of them designed to attract women fans, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. A track spokeswoman said the series “is something we’d like to build on.”


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