NBC Sports Group Keeps Kentucky Derby In Its Stable through 2015

NBC Sports Group is keeping the "Run for the Roses" as part of its stable of properties well into the next decade.

The programmer has reached a 10-year renewal with Churchill Downs Inc. to maintain exclusive rights to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks through 2025. Under the deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, the races and shoulder programming will be televised on NBC and NBCSN, and featured on digital platforms.

Like its deals for the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes, the other legs of thoroughbred racing’s triple crown, NBC Sports’ deal for the Derby was set to expire after the 2015 race.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with Churchill Downs for both the iconic Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby and are proud to have them as   signature elements of our Championship Season,” said NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus in a statement. “This decade-long deal is a testament to the strength of the relationship between Churchill Downs Incorporated and NBC Sports, and underscores NBC’s commitment to the sport of horse racing. We will continue to utilize the wide-ranging media platforms of NBCUniversal to surround the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby with wall-to-wall coverage and extensive promotion.”

Noted Churchill Downs chairman and CEO Bob Evans: “This agreement extends our relationship with NBC to 25 years and includes what will be a very special historical moment, the 150th Kentucky Derby in 2024. We will not only achieve our financial objectives with this deal, but we will also continue to benefit from NBC’s unique media assets and innovative perspective to help us continue to grow the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby brands.”

Benefiting from NBC Sports Group’s “big event strategy,” three of the last five Kentucky Derby races have recorded at least 16 million viewers. Over the last 13 races, NBC's Kentucky Derby coveraged averaged over 2 million more viewers than the previous dozen of the race’s broadcasts: 14.3 million vs. 12 million.

The 140th Kentucky Derby, America’s oldest continuously held major sporting event, will come out of the gate on Saturday, May 3, 2014.