HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, September 13, 2022 — On September 10, HRI opened a press release sent to our inbox. Here, in part, is an edited version:
“Churchill Downs Incorporated has entered into a multi-year agreement with FanDuel Group involving different facets of FanDuel’s sports wagering, advance deposit wagering, and television business.
“Under the Agreement, CDI will provide certain technology and services to enable FanDuel’s customers to place pari-mutuel wagers on horse racing via FanDuel’s sports wagering and ADW platforms.
“CDI will also authorize wagering on CDI’s owned or controlled horse racing content via FanDuel’s platforms in the United States and grant FanDuel certain television and media rights to broadcast CDI-owned racing content on FanDuel’s television network(s).
“In addition, the agreement provides FanDuel non-exclusive Kentucky Derby sponsorship rights within the sports wagering category.
“Beginning in January 2023, FanDuel will pay for CDI technology… As previously announced, CDI has entered into an agreement to sell 49% of United Tote to New York Racing Association (NYRA) in a transaction that is expected to close by the end of 2022…
“CDI will provide FanDuel wagering rights to horse racing content owned or controlled by CDI, including the Kentucky Derby, and will receive customary content fees when FanDuel accepts wagers on CDI-owned content…
“FanDuel will also receive exclusive television rights to the racing content of all CDI Thoroughbred racetracks, including Churchill Downs, once its existing non-Derby media rights deal expires in 2023…
“The agreement excludes certain specified racing content, including Kentucky Derby Week. As part of the agreement, FanDuel will also receive a non-exclusive sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby in the sports wagering category beginning in 2023 in exchange for an annual sponsorship fee.”
A few days later, this release arrived:
“NYRA Content Management Solutions (NCMS), a subsidiary of the New York Racing Association, Inc. and 1/ST CONTENT, the leading global provider of premium content for North American horse racing, announced a 10-year partnership that will dramatically expand the availability of North American horse racing content throughout international markets…
“The new partnership solidifies 1/ST CONTENT as the world’s premier international distributor of North American horse racing content… this agreement furthers the co-operation between 1/ST CONTENT and NCMS over the content rights, data, odds, and signals from a host of first-class venues…
“By leveraging its vast international distribution network and direct-to-home rights in the UK, Ireland, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Africa, this agreement will deliver more than 3,000 days of racing each year from Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, Belmont Park, Aqueduct and Saratoga, along with Del Mar, Keeneland, Tampa Bay Downs and Woodbine…
“[This partnership] will [continue operating] only in regulated markets ensuring the highest level of integrity and fairness as it deploys ground-breaking 1/ST ODDS pricing engine, and an innovative in-running betting service currently in trial with numerous Tier-1 operators.”
What was glaring over the prime summer meets of Saratoga and Del Mar, is that pre-FanDuel branding, TVG had a strong, live presence at Del Mar while the Saratoga meet was available only on the Fox family of regional networks.
The NYRA product in particular requires video recording in advance, given the cross-country time zones, varying size of racing programs that occasionally result in disparate first-post off times.
The ever-annoying reality of not knowing when and where NYRA’s Saratoga Live program can be viewed–either FS-1 or FS-2–often requires three channel changes and recordings to cover a single racing card. Sometimes races fall between cracks given often haphazard scheduling.
Programming on both networks becomes even more dicey when prior commitments to the NBC network and/or its satellites have exclusive rights on that day’s stakes fare, especially when races align with the Breeders’ Cup Championships.
Battle lines between the networks have been joined for a while. When Churchill Downs no longer appeared on TVG, NYRA programming picked up the Churchill simulcasts, the races shown and analyzed by NYRA roster of racing analysts.
No one knows that will happen when alliances made before the recently announced agreements expire. Does Fan Duel’s exclusive rights to CDI content leave NYRA programming without content from Churchill’s stable of racetracks?
Other CDI properties includes Fair Grounds, Turfway Park and fairly recently made incursions northward into Pennsylvania (Presque Isle Downs) and Virginia (Colonial Downs) which recently closed its best meet ever. CDI has the Commonwealth of Kentucky locked up with one notable exception: Keeneland.
Despite all incestuous entanglements, competition between racetracks and regions remains as contentious as ever.
One hopes is that one day the industry can have a network unto itself which, especially given the burgeoning popularity of international racing, There will be content galore. But until that day comes, horseplayers might find themselves without enough recording devices.