Was your Breeder’s Cup TV coverage replaced with something else?

I’m one of the lucky ones. First, our family’s house and the trees around it are still standing after Hurricane Sandy, plus we have electrical power and other utilities, including cable.

Second, my cable system carries the NBC Sports network, so I could watch the 2012 Breeder’s Cup undercards for both days.

Third, my local NBC affiliate WVIT-TV aired the coverage of the Breeder’s Cup Classic live on NBC. Granted, race coverage began late because the Notre Dame vs Pittsburgh football game went into overtime, but that’s just smart programming. We race fans don’t want football fans ticked off at us or NBC, our TV home for equestrian sports, for pulling another Heidi.

Apparently, we horse racing fans have enough image trouble without that kind of drama.

Only later, when I checked social media, did I learn that some local NBC stations substituted other programing for NBC’s live coverage of the $5 million Breeder’s Cup Classic. If that happened in your area, and you’re upset, this is what you do.

Contact your local NBC affiliate. Write to them. Email them. Even call them. If you can read this blog, you can look up their contact info with help from Mr. Google, Mr. Bing or the search engine of your choice.

The sad truth is that televised horse racing, even international championships like the Breeder’s Cup Classic, attracts a much smaller audience than a televised college football game.

When you watch TV, listen to the radio and even flip through your favorite newspaper or magazine, the content is bait for attracting an audience to see the advertising.

This is also November, one of the TV ratings sweeps months. (FWIW, the other “sweeps” months are February and May.) How much of an audience a TV station attracts in a particular time period is is less important than the revenue the size of the audience brings in for advertising dollars. Ratings numbers = advertising dollars. The industry jargon is “buying eyeballs,” and it’s – for good or ill – smart programming.

It’s why the following stations bumped the live coverage of the $5 million Breeder’s Cup Classic:

KSDK-TV ran a recap of the St. Louis Cardinals 2012 season instead of the Classic and even reneged on a promise to air the recorded race at 1:30 am Sunday according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s blog, St. Louis Today.

WDIV-TV of Detroit not only ran its newscast instead of live coverage of the BC Classic, but reportedly asked viewers to not contact the station about it, according to a disgruntled viewer.

An NBC affiliate that I have yet to identify that serves southeastern North Dakota and southwestern Minnesota  reportedly substituted an old episode of “Wheel of Fortune” for the live Classic, according to a Facebook post I saw.

If you didn’t get to watch the Breeder’s Cup classic because your local affiliate bumped it …

  • Be polite, but firm and express your displeasure.
  • Call, email and/or write letters (especially if you’re in KDIV’s broadcast area, double-especially because they reportedly don’t want to know.) Get on their social media pages, like Facebook.
  • Get your horsey friends – emails from additional households count more than letters from your family.

Even though those TV stations cover rural audiences who may have horses and be interested in horse racing, they may have underestimated the importance of this international equestrian competition with $5 million dollars at stake, let alone the size of the demographic interested.

If your station ran the Breeder’s Cup Classic

You might want to consider

  • Writing to the station and thanking them via the same channels listed above: email, phone call, paper mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Tell them you realize they could have chosen otherwise and that you appreciate their choice.
  • Ask your local friends who are race fans to do the same

Was live coverage of the Classic in your area pre-empted, but I didn’t mention the station that did it? Welllll, now …. please add the station’s call letters in the Comments section below and please let us know what that station aired instead.






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