BC Classic TV viewership down sharply
The final hour of last Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup broadcast on NBC had total viewership of 1.6 million, according to the network, down 20 percent from last year.
The viewership figure was well down from the 2016 and 2015 Classic broadcasts, when viewership was 2.2 million and 3.9 million. The 2015 Classic broadcast featured Triple Crown winner American Pharoah making the final start of his career. The last time viewership was as low as 1.6 million was in 2011, when the event was broadcast by ESPN.
This year’s Classic at Churchill Downs was held three hours earlier than the prior two years. In 2016 and 2017, the two-day Breeders’ Cup was held in Southern California.
NBC is the dominant broadcaster of premium live racing events. It also broadcasts all three races of the Triple Crown, and it has agreements with the Breeders’ Cup to broadcast a number of the event’s prep races.
◗ NBC announced this week that it has reached a sixyear media-rights extension through 2025 with Royal Ascot in England. NBC first agreed to broadcast races from the prestigious five-day event last year.
For next year, NBC said it will broadcast live from Ascot for 4 1/2 hours on its NBC Sports Network from Tuesday through Friday, June 18-21, with four additional hours of broadcast time for the final day of the meet, June 22.
◗ NBC also announced this week that it has reached an agreement with The Stronach Group to broadcast the Pegasus World Cup and a companion turf race on Jan. 26. The Pegasus is run at Gulfstream Park, owned by the The Stronach Group.
The agreement calls for a 90-minute live program featuring the $9 million Pegasus World Cup on dirt and the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational.