For a network that only showed 2 hours of horse racing two years ago, the announcement that the Breeders Cup will not only return to NBC, but will be offered in a prime-time viewing spot is a welcome change for horse racing enthusiasts.
The Breeders Cup is likely considered the lesser-known of major horse racing events compared to the Triple Crown events including the Preakness, Belmont and of course the Kentucky Derby. But with viewership ratings up overall for all of horse racing (especially the Derby), it’s really a no brainer for NBC to extend their coverage of horse racing nationwide and bring it into primetime. With NBC also looking to add more sports to the network and the NBC Sports Network, it's a smart move.
From the NYT: “NBC and the NBC Sports Network will combine to present nine and a half hours of live coverage of 15 Breeders’ Cup races over two days with horses from around the world competing for more than $25 million. The Classic, which has helped crown 11 Horses of the Year, will be run between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 3.”
From 1984-2005, NBC held the Breeders Cup rights only to lose them to ESPN/ABC. In the new four year deal, it makes NBC the sole home for horse racing out of all the television networks. Something few networks can say in regards to any sport.