Breeders' Cup signs deal with NBC; Classic to run in prime time

The Breeders' Cup, Thoroughbred racing's two-day championships, returns to NBC in November with the first-ever prime-time running of the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Park in California.

Breeders' Cup and NBC Sports Group announced Monday they had signed a multiyear deal to return the races to NBC, where they were shown from 1984 to 2005.

NBC will air 91/2 hours of live race coverage, most on NBC Sports Network. Only the final hour, which is when the Classic is run, from 8 to 9 p.m. Nov. 3, will air on NBC proper. On Friday, Nov. 2, from 4 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, Nov. 3, from 3:30 to 8 p.m. the races will air on NBC Sports Network.

No financial details of the deal were disclosed. NBC also has signed multiyear deals for all Triple Crown races.

"Everyone here is delighted that the Breeders' Cup has returned home," said Jon Miller, president, programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. "Bringing back this prestigious event, combined with our long-term partnerships for the Triple Crown with Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, in addition to the Preakness and Belmont, cements the NBC Sports Group as the home of horse racing."

ESPN had held the broadcasting rights to the Breeders' Cup for the past six years and had two years left on the contract.

"In the last few years, ESPN has reduced its coverage of horse racing, and this event no longer fits with our overall content strategy," ESPN said in a statement. "We value our relationship with the Breeders' Cup and jointly decided this is the best option for their event. We look forward to continuing to work with them on international coverage."