And Down The Stretch They Come: Rebranded network opens door for horse racing
The switch became official Monday – Versus is now the NBC Sports Network. NBC has expressed a long-term commitment to growing the channel and competing with ESPN, and horse racing has an opportunity to benefit, writes Matt Gardner at And Down The Stretch They Come:
“The addition of telecasts from Saratoga and Keeneland last fall on the old Versus channel were a welcome addition to horse racing fans. You never got the feeling that those programs, in glorious HD from two of the most beautiful and historic horse racing venues in America, were something that the network was just wedging into their schedule. It was really the tip-of-the-iceberg of what televised horse racing “could be” given a proper commitment.
“For all of ESPN's qualities, their level of commitment to horse racing has seriously regressed over the last decade. Gone are the days of “Breakfast at Churchill Downs”, a Breeders' Cup handicapping preview show, or even the Randy Moss hosted programs recapping stakes races from the previous week. (All of those programs existed just 10 years ago.) Even the Breeders' Cup has lost a little something after moving from NBC to ESPN, with the event turning into a cobbled together collection of programs on three different channels in order to squeeze it in between various college football games.”