New York sports betting apps get rolling this year and the Belmont Stakes, the third and final jewel in thoroughbred racing’s Triple Crown series, will have a new broadcast home in 2023.
FOX Sports and the New York Racing Association (NYRA) announced Wednesday an eight-year agreement in which FOX Sports will acquire the exclusive media rights for the Belmont Stakes.
It also will broadcast the entire Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, a multi-day event leading up to the Belmont Stakes with many graded stakes thoroughbred races.
The announcement comes right before New York will launch online sports wagering throughout the state.
Deal Means New Name for Belmont Stakes
The new deal also grants NYRA Bets the title sponsorship to the Belmont Stakes. It now will be known as the NYRA Bets Belmont Stakes and more than likely becomes the most prestigious event on the American sporting calendar to be sponsored by a gaming brand.
“From Secretariat to American Pharoah, the Belmont Stakes has been racing’s greatest test of the champion, and we couldn’t be prouder to bring it to FOX Sports,” Michael Mulvihill, executive vice president, head of strategy and analytics of FOX sports, said in a news release. “The Belmont enhances FOX’s status as the industry leader in live events and is an important step in our evolution as a media and gaming brand.”
NYRA Bets is an advance deposit wagering business currently operating in more than 30 states, and majority-owned by the NYRA, with FOX Corp. holding a minority interest.
“FOX Sports has quickly become the year-round home of the finest thoroughbred racing in the country,” said Dave O’Rourke, NYRA president & CEO. “Their commitment to presenting innovative and informative coverage has had an enormous impact on reaching new fans and enhancing overall interest in the sport. That’s why NYRA is so pleased to expand our partnership to now include the Belmont Stakes on FOX for many years to come.”
Partnership Started in 2016
The NYRA and FOX Sports have had a partnership since 2016, when the debut of the Saratoga Live TV show at historic Saratoga Race Course.
FOX Sports became the national broadcast home for Belmont Park in 2019 and airing live coverage of the majority of racing action of the fall and spring/summer racing seasons, including the Travers Stakes.
Last March, both entities expanded their partnership by extending FOX Sports’ television rights with NYRA through 2030 and further expanded exclusivity for daily racing at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course featuring the Travers Stakes through 2030.
Last year, NYRA Bets reported a wagering handle of $250 million in wagering handle. That followed $225 million in wagering handle in 2020, which was a more than 100% increase over 2019.
Essential Quality won the 2021 Belmont Stakes, having finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby and skipping the Preakness to train specifically for the Belmont.
Triple Crown winners gain that elusive and prestigious title by virtue of winning the Belmont in June after having won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in May.