Saratoga Race Course is officially open for the season, and now more eyes than ever will be on the Spa City’s prestigious summer meet. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) has cut a broad, expansive TV programming deal with Fox Sports to exponentially expand the reach of Saratoga Live, the track’s televised coverage of the races. NYRA’s calling the new agreement the most expansive in horse racing history.
“We are thrilled to be providing racing fans with the most in-depth and comprehensive television coverage of the 2019 meet at Saratoga Race Course,” Tony Allevato, President of NYRA Bets and Executive Producer of NYRA TV, tells saratoga living. As part of the new broadcasting deal, Saratoga Live will appear on Fox Sports, FS1 and FS2 for a combined 192.5 show hours. That includes a one-hour special on Fox Broadcast Network of the historic 150th running of the Grade 1 Travers Stakes on Saturday, August 24.
In addition to Saratoga Live‘s increased reach on FS2, it will also be viewable on regional sports networks such as MSG Networks, which will air 105 hours of coverage; Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports Prime Ticket and Altitude Sports. All that regional and national coverage adds up to 198 television hours in total, an almost 100 percent increase in exposure for Saratoga’s prized summer races. “Our goal with Saratoga Live is to take sports fans and bettors inside the sport for all 40 days of live racing here in the Spa City,” says Allevato.
Part of that push to bring more racing fans closer to the sport will be a star-studded lineup of experts and professionals offering commentary on Saratoga Live, such as Greg Wolf and Laffit Pincay III, Eclipse Award-winning jockey Richard Migliore (aka “The Mig”), Kentucky Oaks-winning trainer Tom Amoss, retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens and retired All-Star catcher Paul LoDuca, among others. Another big name joining the lineup is Larry Collmus, Saratoga Race Course’s track announcer and the voice of the Triple Crown. Additionally, Saratoga Live‘s set—which was previously filmed on the roof of Saratoga Race Course—has been moved to the track’s apron to better capture the festive atmosphere of the races and give fans a closer, on-the-ground perspective of the action.
Saratoga Live was launched in 2016 in partnership with Fox Sports. Since then, the critically acclaimed live broadcast’s on-air hours and ratings have increased every year. “There never was any sport that was hurt by being on television,” says Allevato. “It really speaks volumes to Fox’s commitment and [to] the success we’ve had with our shows.”