Jump racing could receive further valuable exposure on mainstream TV in the US, after the broadcast of the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup was hailed a ‘resounding success’ following its airing on Fox Sports yesterday (Friday 18th March).
The brilliant win by Rachael Blackmore on A Plus Tard, in front of a packed Cheltenham Racecourse, impressed American television executives, who had made the trip to Cheltenham to experience the atmosphere for themselves for the first time.
Tony Allevato, Chief Revenue Officer of NYRA, which oversees all US and international horse racing production for Fox Sports, described the day as a “major league sporting event”.
Fox Sports, working with HBA Media and Racecourse Media Group, took the Racing TV feed, fronted by Nick Luck, for the hour around the Gold Cup.
“Through our partnerships with HBA Media and Racecourse Media Group, we televised the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Fox Sports, which goes into 55 million homes. It was the first time the race was shown on national TV in the US.
“We show a lot of international racing on Fox Sports, but this was the first time we’ve shown Jump racing from outside of the US.
“Fox broadcasts some of the biggest sporting events in the world, the football World Cup, World Series, Superbowl – and now the Cheltenham Gold Cup. We’ve had a lot of good feedback and it was a resounding success.
“Hopefully this is a starting point, and a chance to educate our viewers and get them familiar with Jump racing. We broadcast 900 hours of racing on Fox last year and to add Jump racing to that schedule can only be a positive thing.
“It was my first time to Cheltenham. I’d heard great things, but I couldn’t be more impressed. The size of the place, the crowds, everyone dressed to the nines – it is quite incredible. It’s a proper major league sporting event.”
Ian Renton, Regional Director of Cheltenham and the South-West for The Jockey Club added:
“We were thrilled for the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup to be broadcast on mainstream TV in the US for the first time, thanks to Fox Sports, and offer a window into the world of top-class jumps racing, and all the drama and excitement that goes with it.
“Hopefully the appetite will be whetted for more Jumps racing coverage in the US.”
The Jockey Club Press Release