Disclaimer #1 – My husband works for ESPN. I used to work for ESPN so long ago that you may not have heard of it then.
Disclaimer #2 – I will update this post as time passes and new information comes in. If you’re an RSS or email subscriber, I’ll post a new link back to this post right before Derby weekend so you’ll be up-to-date. With any luck, we’ll have new info.
For the 2011 Kentucky Derby, NBC Sports will offer Kentucky Derby-related programming starting at 4 pm EDT. At 5 pm EDT, we’ll see the Derby coverage itself. Post time, the actual race, won’t happen until about 6:24 pm EDT, in case you’re plagued with plans away from the TV on Derby Day.
Now the worrisome news. At least, it is to me.
So far, I don’t see ESPN offering its “Day at the Kentucky Derby” coverage, which is a tradition of mine, especially with former Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey offering color and race strategy analysis.
The Kentucky Derby site has a listing of Derby Week coverage so far, which includes coverage of the Kentucky Oaks on May 6, the Friday of Derby Week. ESPN, however, is conspicuously absent.
My cable system here in the nexus of Red Sox Nation and Yankeemania does not offer the horse racing channels, like HRTV. Good thing I have an online HRTV account. We’ll be running the internet browser through the HDTV on Derby afternoon for the undercard.
A lot of equestrian sports coverage is moving online, apparently. We are a niche market, so more money for commercials comes from the masses that follow team sports.
Betcha didn’t know that TV shows air so that people will watch commercials. Digital video recorders (DVRs) have allowed people to fast-forward through the commercials. Don’t think that goes unnoticed. Big Brother goes digital, baby.
Anyway, let’s list where we will be able to find coverage in addition to NBC Sports on TV:
- HRTV – Has a lot of other shows and documentaries, including live racing.
- HRRN – Yes, it’s radio, but listening to the action on the radio has its period charm. Here’s a list of Horse Racing Radio Network’s 2011 Triple Crown shows, which we can access online.
- Versus – Said to be the home of outdoor sports, although it covers NHL. (The National Hockey League? Really? An outdoor sport??? Sorry. Couldn’t resist) As of this writing, I didn’t see any horse racing info on the site. Yet, the Kentucky Derby site says Versus has the Derby post position draw at 5 pm EDT on May 4, so the Versus network is all-in when it comes to Derby coverage. [New info: Versus is owned by NBCUniversal and is the former Outdoor Life Network, according to Wikipedia. So, if your cable system had Outdoor Life (OLN) you might have Versus.]
And I’ll keep on checking ESPN’s schedule. I haven’t given up hope.
Jerry Bailey, what are you doing for Derby?