Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs Extend Broadcast Deal With NBC Sports

Only days after one of the closest finishes in race history, the Kentucky Derby and its host track Churchill Downs have agreed to a deal that will expand a media relationship with NBC Sports.

The next eight Kentucky Derby races will be seen on NBC and its platforms, through 2032, says both NBC and Churchill Downs in a press statement. The Kentucky Derby is the first race of the Triple Crown and completed its 150th running on Saturday, May 4.

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NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC and NBC Sports, will own exclusive broadcast rights to the Kentucky Derby and other marquee events at Churchill Downs in Louisville. The events will be seen on NBC Sports, Peacock, USA Network, and possibly other networks owned by NBCU.

The “Run for the Roses” has been seen on NBC since 2001. According to the Sports Business Journal, the 2024 Kentucky Derby “averaged a total audience of 16.7 million viewers — marking the largest Kentucky Derby audience since 1989.”

As part of the agreement with Churchill Downs, NBC Sports will have exclusive rights to the Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Oaks, and Derby and Oaks Day. The latter two are the events that lead up to the Kentucky Derby and constitute the largest multi-day spectator event in North American horse racing.

“As we celebrate the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs is proud to extend the relationship with NBC Sports. As our media partner for the last 23 years, NBC has artfully captured the most exciting two minutes in sports and the spectacle of the senses that surrounds it,” said Bill Carstanjen, the CEO of Churchill Downs.

First Kentucky Derby Since State Launched Legal Sports Betting

Derby fans at Churchill Downs witnessed history on Saturday when Mystik Dan (priced as high as +1800 from sportsbooks prior to the race) won a three-horse photo finish. The climax of the Derby was the most contested since 1947, and took several minutes to confirm a winner.

For the first time in Bluegrass State history, fans could legally wager via a sports betting/horse racing app on the race. Kentucky is one of 38 states with legal sports gambling, launching its market in August of 2023.

A winning $100 bet on Mystik Dan would have paid out $1,800 on the +1800 moneyline odds prior to Saturday’s start.


About the Author
Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Writer and Contributor
Dan Holmes is a veteran writer and contributor for Gaming Today. He has written three books, including The Ballplayers: Baseball’s Greatest Players Remembered, Ranked, and Revealed, which will be released in 2024. Holmes has previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball.

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