NBC Sports Group Presents the 144th Belmont Stakes

Categories: Press Releases

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June 4th, 2012

via press release

I’LL HAVE ANOTHER SEEKS FIRST TRIPLE CROWN IN 34 YEARS AS NBC SPORTS GROUP PRESENTS THE 144th BELMONT STAKES
*NOTE: Highlights from this afternoon’s conference call will be available tomorrow morning

11 Hours of Belmont-Week Coverage Begins Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET with I’ll Have Another – Charging Toward History on NBC Sports Network

Coverage Culminates with 144th Belmont Stakes on NBC, Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET

NBC Sports Group’s Increased Coverage Includes 30 Extra Minutes on NBC, the I’ll Have Another Special, and Re-broadcasts of I’ll Have Another’s Thrilling Kentucky Derby and Preakness Victories

NEW YORK – June 4, 2012 – The NBC Sports Group will surround I’ll Have Another’s quest to become the first horse in 34 years to capture horse racing’s elusive Triple Crown with 11 hours of coverage across both NBC and the NBC Sports Network. Coverage includes: a 30-minute documentary I’ll Have Another – Charging Toward History on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET; re-broadcasts of I’ll Have Another’s victories in both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes Thursday night on NBC Sports Network; Belmont classics on Friday on NBC Sports Network; a one-hour Live from Belmont on Friday on NBC Sports Network; and 4.5 hours of coverage from Belmont on both NBC and NBC Sports Network on Saturday. The coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday on NBC, and is preceded by 1.5 hours of coverage on NBC Sports Network, and followed by a 30-minute post-race show on the channel.

COMMENTATORS: NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 144th Belmont Stakes will feature co-hosts Bob Costas, a 23-time Emmy Award-winner, and NBC’s lead horse racing voice Tom Hammond; Hall-of-Fame jockey and three-time Belmont Stakes winner Gary Stevens; analyst Randy Moss; contributing analysts/handicappers Mike Battaglia and Bob Neumeier; host Laffit Pincay, III; Hall-of Fame jockey and two-time Belmont Stakes-winner Jerry Bailey; reporters Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers and Jay Privman; and race caller Larry Collmus.

PRODUCTION TEAM: NBC’s coverage will be produced by Rob Hyland, the producer of this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and a veteran of the network’s horse racing coverage since 2001, and directed by Sunday Night Football and NBC Sports’ horse racing director, Drew Esocoff.

The coverage on NBC Sports Network is produced by Pierre Moossa and directed by Doug Grabert. Fred Gaudelli is the coordinating producer of NBC Sports Group’s Triple Crown coverage. The executive producer of NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network is Sam Flood, who has produced 11 Triple Crown races for the network.

NBC SPORTS GROUP BELMONT WEEK COVERAGE
Thurs. June 7 7:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. I'll Have Another – Charging Toward History NBC Sports Network
8 p.m. - 10 p.m. Rebroadcast of 2012 Kentucky Derby NBC Sports Network
10 p.m. - Midnight Rebroadcast of 2012 Preakness NBC Sports Network
Fri. June 8 4 p.m. - 5 p.m. Belmont Classics NBC Sports Network
5 p.m. - 6 p.m. Live from Belmont NBC Sports Network
Sat. June 9 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Belmont Stakes Saturday NBC Sports Network
4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m. Belmont Stakes NBC
7 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Belmont Post-Race Show NBC Sports Network

FEATURES AND STORYLINES: The features that the NBC Sports Group are preparing for its Belmont coverage include:

  • I’ll Have Another’s road to the Triple Crown, including a feature on owner Paul Reddam;
  • Bob Costas interviews I’ll Have Another trainer Doug O’Neill;
  • Costas essay on the elusive Triple Crown;
  • Costas essay on Triple Crown attempts and failures since 1978;
  • Jockey Mario Gutierrez and his upbringing in El Higo, Mexico, a small city just outside of Veracruz;
  • Feature on the last Triple Crown-winning jockey, Steve Cauthen, who won at age 18 aboard Affirmed;
  • Belmont Challengers: who could spoil I’ll Have Another’s run to the Triple Crown?

SINCE THE LAST TIME A TRIPLE CROWN WAS WON IN 1978:

  • Perfect Games in MLB: 12
  • 99-Yard Touchdown Passes in the NFL: 9
  • Walk Off Home Runs in World Series games: 9
  • 4-Home Run games in MLB: 6
  • Repeat Super Bowl Champions: 5 (Steelers, 49ers, Cowboys, Broncos, Patriots)
  • PGA TOUR rounds of 59: 4
  • Grand Slam in Tennis: 1 (Steffi Graf, 1988)

I’LL HAVE ANOTHER – CHARGING TOWARD HISTORY: When I’ll Have Another came from behind to edge Bodemeister in the Preakness Stakes, he put himself into position to capture one of the greatest and most elusive prizes in all of sports - The Triple Crown

With unprecedented access to I’ll Have Another and Team O’Neill, connections from the major challengers, including Dale Romans (Dullahan), and Michael Matz (Union Rags), and behind-the-scenes footage from the off-the-track events leading up to the Belmont Stakes, I’ll Have Another – Charging Toward History will bring viewers deep into the inner world of the sport of horse racing, providing an unprecedented look at the days and events leading up to Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.

I’ll Have Another – Charging Toward History premieres Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET with re-airs on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET and kicking off Saturday’s Belmont Day coverage at 2:30 p.m. ET.

“America’s Best Racing,” a joint venture between the NTRA and The Jockey Club, produces the special for NBC Sports Network. The “America’s Best Racing” production team is lead by the Hennegan Brothers, Eclipse Award Winning Documentary filmmakers and Emmy Award Winning Executive Producer Ken Adelson.

BELMONT EXTRA

Taking a page from Kentucky Derby Extra and Super Bowl Extra, Belmont Extra is the online connection to coverage of the 144th Belmont Stakes. Available at NBCSports.com with live streaming of the NBC broadcast of Belmont, other features of Belmont Extra include:

  • Four online-only camera angles that showcase the all the activity and buzz around I'll Have Another's pursuit of history, including an isolation camera on I'll Have Another in the lead-up to and during the race;
  • Online-only analysis by NBC Sports Group horse racing commentators;
  • Replays and footage from I'll Have Another's victories at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes;
  • A video simulation that pits I'll Have Another against 11 previous failed Triple Crown contenders including Smarty Jones, Funny Cide, Spectacular Bid and War Emblem. This simulation is available now at: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/22825103/vp/47634342 - 47634342
  • A video simulation of this year's Belmont field. Can I’ll Have Another win the Triple Crown? This simulation will be available following the post draw on Wednesday.

BELMONT STAKES ALL-ACCESS

NBC Sports Group will implement its All-Access social media strategy for Belmont week on both NBC and NBC Sports Network. A dedicated social media producer will be on-site for behind-the-scenes content, including breaking news, photos and video from Belmont Park.

Twitter: Viewers and Tweeters alike will be encouraged to join the conversation by using the hashtag #BELMONT. Reminders will appear on screen throughout all of NBC’s Belmont Stakes coverage.

  • On-air integration of live tweets from Triple Crown hopeful I’ll Have Another (@Ill_HaveAnother), his jockey Mario Gutierrez (@Mario_Hastings), and trainer Doug O’Neill (@DougONeill1) will be featured on screen throughout the broadcasts to keep viewers up to date with what’s happening and trending on Twitter.
  • For the ultimate horse racing fan, @NBCSN will live tweet all week leading up to the Belmont, including the Draw, and provide interactive trivia and “Did You Know” tweets during the broadcast. It will give fans behind the scenes access and information like never before.
  • Many members of the broadcast team will be tweeting in the days leading up to the race with insight, breaking news, and behind the scenes access. Follow Larry Collmus (@larrycollmus), Donna Brothers (@donnabrothers), Gary Stevens (@HRTVGary), Kenny Rice (@KennyRiceSports), Randy Moss (@RandyMossTV), and Laffit Pincay (@HRTVLaffit).

Facebook: Fans will have the chance to join in on the Belmont broadcast:

  • Everyone at home can pick their winner with the “Choose the Winning Horse” Facebook poll on www.facebook.com/NBCSports. The nation's votes will be tallied and shown on-air during the Belmont Stakes broadcast.

TRIPLE CROWN RATINGS INFO

BELMONT STAKES: Last year’s first broadcast of the Belmont Stakes on NBC since 2005, which was won by 24-1 long shot Ruler on Ice, drew 6.8 million viewers, 44 percent higher than the 2010 race on ABC (4.7 million), making it the most-watched Belmont in a non-Triple Crown year since NBC last broadcast the Belmont in 2005 (7.7 million).

BELMONT STAKES VIEWERSHIP SINCE 1994 (Race Portion):
2011 6.8 million NBC
2010 4.7 million ABC
2009 6.6 million ABC (Borel going for unprecedented jockey Triple Crown)
2008 13.1 million ABC (Triple Crown at stake - Big Brown)
2007 4.9 million ABC
2006 5.0 million ABC
2005 7.7 million NBC
2004 21.9 million NBC (Triple Crown at stake - Smarty Jones)
2003 15.7 million NBC (Triple Crown at stake - Funny Cide)
2002 12.4 million NBC (Triple Crown at stake - War Emblem)
2001 6.8 million NBC
2000 4.3 million ABC
1999 9.3 million ABC (Triple Crown at stake - Charismatic)
1998 9.1 million ABC (Triple Crown at stake - Real Quiet)
1997 8.2 million ABC (Triple Crown at stake - Silver Charm)
1996 4.0 million ABC
1995 5.1 million ABC
1994 5.9 million ABC

14.8 MILLION WATCH KENTUCKY DERBY: NBC’s coverage of the 2012 Kentucky Derby drew 14.8 million viewers, the third most-watched Kentucky Derby in 23 years, and up two percent from last year’s Derby. Since implementing NBC Sports Group’s ‘Big Event Strategy,’ the last four Kentucky Derby races have all recorded at least 14.5 million viewers.

NBC’s coverage of the Kentucky Derby over the last 12 years averages more than 2 million more viewers than the previous 12 Kentucky Derby broadcasts on ABC (14.1 million vs.12.0 million, up 17 percent).

8.1 MILLION WATCH PREAKNESS STAKES: NBC Sports coverage of the Preakness Stakes drew 8.1 million viewers, the fourth consecutive year that the Preakness drew more than eight million viewers. Since NBC began broadcasting the Preakness in 2001, every Preakness telecast on NBC over that period attracted more viewers than any Preakness telecast on ABC in the previous seven years. Viewership for the Preakness is up an average of 60% in the 12 years on NBC compared to the previous eight years on ABC.

NBC SPORTS GROUP AND HORSE RACING: The NBC Sports Group is the exclusive home to the most important and prestigious events in horse racing, including the Triple Crown and the Breeders’ Cup, which was broadcast on NBC from 1984-2005. Last year marked the first time that all three Triple Crown races appeared on one network since NBC last aired the Triple Crown in 2005. NBC has been the exclusive home of the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes since 2001. This year, the NBC Sports Group will present 27½ hours of Triple Crown coverage across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

NBC Sports Group is also the home to Summer at Saratoga, Autumn at Keeneland, and, in collaboration with The Jockey Club, the Road to the Kentucky Derby series that provided live coverage of six major prep races for the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

--NBC SPORTS GROUP--

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