FOX Sports, a unit of Fox Corporation, has firmed up an expanded partnership agreement this week with the New York Racing Association Inc (NYRA). Under the terms of the deal FOX Sports has been designated the official wagering partner of NYRA Bets and the leading media provider for elite thoroughbred racing through the next decade.
The prior media rights agreement between the two parties provided a FOX Sports subsidiary with an option to acquire a 25% stake in NYRA Bets LLC, a leading Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW) platform launched in 2016 and available to customers in 30 states across the country.
The subsidiary will exercise this option by the summer of 2021, pending final regulatory approval. The newly announced agreement provides the subsidiary with a future opportunity to increase its equity interest in NYRA Bets.
As an unprecedented year interrupted live sports around the world, horse racing operated safely and continuously. NYRA Bets achieved record growth in 2020, as new fans engaged with horse racing by watching an unparalleled amount of coverage across FOX Sports’ family of networks.
Driven by a dramatic expansion in this live television coverage, NYRA Bets generated $225m in wagering handle in 2020, a more than 100% increase compared to 2019.
Michael Mulvihill, FOX Sports’ Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy and Analytics, commented: “The remarkably rapid expansion of NYRA Bets, and the digital ADW wagering marketplace, make this an ideal opportunity for FOX Sports to deepen and broaden its investment in both premier media rights and the high-growth sports wagering industry.
“With our investment options in NYRA Bets, FOX is now uniquely positioned as the only media company with strategic stakes in digital bet-taking businesses in horse racing, sports betting, poker and casino gaming. We’re confident that our television partnership with NYRA will fuel continued growth for NYRA Bets in the years ahead “
Dave O’Rourke, President and CEO, NYRA, added: “FOX Sports has shown an unwavering commitment to the sport of horse racing over the past five years. The strength of our partnership with FOX Sports, and the continued expansion of our high-quality telecasts, has proven to be hugely beneficial for the New York racing community and the sport as a whole.”
The new agreement will extend FOX Sports’ television rights with NYRA through 2030 and further expand exclusivity for daily racing at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course. Under the new deal, FOX Sports expects to air at least 700 hours of coverage each year from Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course and, outside of prior commitments, gives the network exclusive national broadcast rights at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course through 2030.
“NYRA is delighted to extend our relationship with FOX Sports,” said Tony Allevato, President, NYRA Bets. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with the FOX Sports team over the next decade to grow NYRA Bets while continuing to present the very best in horse racing coverage to more sports fans than ever before.”
The agreement does not include the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and the Belmont Stakes.