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USTA, Grand Circuit Fund TV Deal

Published: April 25, 2014 3:39 pm ET

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Both The Grand Circuit and the U.S. Trotting Association announced support on Friday to nationally televise two of harness racing's top stakes events in 2014.

The Grand Circuit's announcement stated that the organization "has chosen to support the initiative started by Jack Darling and will contribute to the fund created for sponsoring the television broadcast of The Little Brown Jug and Meadowlands Pace in 2014."

Grand Circuit President John Campbell had this to say on the decision: "By offering our support, we at the Grand Circuit are following our mandate to promote and support open stakes racing. These are two marquee races on the Grand Circuit schedule and having them televised only adds to their prestige. We wish both The Meadowlands and Little Brown Jug Society success in this unique and exciting endeavor."

Earlier in the day, the USTA announced that it has reached an agreement with the Little Brown Jug to assist financially in funding the broadcast of the race on September 18. The USTA has agreed to contribute substantial funding to help offset the costs of production and air time

“Since the initial proposal made by the Meadowlands and Little Brown Jug, the Little Brown Jug came back with some revisions and suggestions that address many of the concerns that the USTA Executive Committee had with the original funding request,” said USTA President Phil Langley. “Mike Tanner, Rob Key and Dan Leary have worked diligently with Sam McKee and Phil Terry during this past week and I think we now have a proposal worthy of our support.”

The Little Brown Jug principals have clarified the role of the race’s main sponsor and their intent to cross promote the race and harness racing through their retail and social media outlets to complement the social media capabilities of the USTA that were a key component in the sponsor’s interest in this proposal.

“We appreciate this opportunity to be involved with the Little Brown Jug,” said Fazoli’s Director of Marketing Jon Quinn. “It’s a nice match and excellent for the Fazoli’s brand.”

“It appears that this is all coming together,” said Little Brown Jug Director of Marketing Phil Terry. “We are pleased that everyone is working together to permit the Jug to be broadcast this fall and excited about the promotions, social media aspect and contest that will support it.

In addition, the Little Brown Jug has also secured additional funding.

“We appreciate this funding from the USTA to go along with the support from our primary sponsor and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association as well as all of the work from Sam McKee in coordinating this effort,” added Terry.

With the additional clarification from the Little Brown Jug representatives that demonstrated this is the more comprehensive approach that the Executive Committee sought, the members now enthusiastically endorse this commitment to the Little Brown Jug.

“I’d like to thank all of the members of the Executive Committee whose response has been so overwhelmingly positive,” said Langley. “With just under five months left before the Jug takes place, these cooperative efforts have a chance to do many of the things the Executive Committee suggested last week.”

The final details of the contract for the broadcast and the possible acquisition of additional sponsors and advertisers are still pending.

“Our contribution will give them the wherewithal to finalize their plans,” added Langley.

Final details will be announced when they become available.

(with files from the Grand Circuit and the USTA)

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