The Kentucky Derby is to be broadcast to the UK and Ireland, after a fresh long term agreement was inked between NBCUniversal and Sky Sports Racing, who are to hold the exclusive broadcasting rights.
Also forming part of the new deal is a lengthening of the current multi-year relationship already in place, which sees an extension of coverage of the other two components of the US Triple Crown series, namely the Preakness Stakes held in Baltimore, Maryland, and the Belmont Stakes, emanating from Elmont, New York.
Matthew Imi, Chief Executive of At The Races, explained: “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.”
Taking place at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, Kentucky on the first Saturday of May, the $2m Kentucky Derby “is the oldest continuously held major sporting event in North America”.
One of the crown jewels of US sport it comes with a plethora of nicknames, including “The Run for the Roses,” “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” and “America’s Race,” and is the most attended horse race across the nation.
This year saw the Bob Baffert trained Justify write its name in the history books by becoming just the 13th horse to ever scoop the Triple Crown, leading to Forbes issuing a value on retirement in the region of $60m.
Sky Sports Racing is the successor to At The Races, and will launch in full HD on or before January 1, 2019.