Sky Sports Racing has moved to extend its broadcasting rights with US horseracing, after signing a new multi-year deal with NBCUniversal.
Holding exclusive rights to the Kentucky Derby, “the oldest continuously held major sporting event in North America,” which will air live in the UK and Ireland, a separate long term deal has also been extended.
This sees Sky Sports Racing lengthen its network coverage of the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes, held in Maryland and New York respectively, which together with the Kentucky Derby forms the US Triple Crown series.
The $2m race, which is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, and is also dubbed “The Run for the Roses,” “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” and “America’s Race,” is the most attended horse race in the United States.
This year saw trainer Bob Baffert emanate his 2015 success with American Pharoah, as his horse Justify become the 13th winner of the Triple Crown, leading to a $60m valuation on retirement by Forbes in the process.
Matthew Imi, Chief Executive of At The Races, stated: “This agreement reinforces our long-term commitment to the biggest racing events on the international stage and we will help raise the profile of these great fixtures even further in the UK and Ireland with coverage and cross promotion across Sky Sports.
“The Kentucky Derby is an institution in the US, and in recent years, the achievements of American Pharoah and Justify have brought the Triple Crown series to mainstream attention around the world.
“We also value our partnership with NBCUniversal and there are excellent opportunities for further cooperation in helping promote racing on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Sky Sports Racing is the successor to At The Races and will launch in full HD on or before January 1, 2019, becoming the eleventh Sky Sports channel.