NBC is in discussions to create a new sports series that would debut next year, reports The New York Times. The talks are with the Jockey Club and involve creating a series around next year’s Triple Crown prep races, as the horse-racing organization seeks to reverse a decline in fans and raise the sport’s television profile, the story reports.
The Jockey Club is spending $10 million over five years to increase television coverage and create a racing series that will be paired with a social-network game and a free-to-play website. The TV part of the campaign comes after a report from consulting firm McKinsey & Company found that attendance is down 30% over the past decade, while betting has plunged 37%.
According to Dan Singer, a director in media and entertainment at McKinsey, horse racing will have 43 hours of national TV in 2011, while pro bowling will reach 92 hours of coverage this year. A decade ago, 9% of new racing fans said they found the sport on TV, but no recent fans singled out TV as the way they became hooked, he said, according to the story.