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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Share, Share, That's Fair

- It was early Friday evening, Santa Anita was open, but not, of course, on TVG, and they had the skeleton crew on hand. John Lies was doing solo duty, and I saw him on Thursday night too. Perhaps he's been chained to the desk. Lies' career is certainly on the upswing. He's been the track announcer at Lone Star since 2005, and I met him at Saratoga two summers ago when he was reporting for the Saratoga Special. Since then, I saw him hosting Del Mar's simulcast show this past summer, and now he's a talking head on TVG.

John seemed like a nice guy, and he's certainly knowledgeable, and I'm sure he'll be a fine addition on the network, though it seems as if he's still getting comfortable. It can't be an easy gig. Think of all the bad music you hear on Monday and Tuesday nights and imagine someone having to talk through all that time. Besides, I don't think that the TVG announcer training program has kicked in yet. You see guys like Iggy Puglisi and Nick Hines, who were informative yet a bit crude on the air at first, but in a matter of months they had a whole new presence, as if they'd been doing it all their lives. They spoke confidently, stared assuringly out at the viewing audience with their bodies otherwise turned at a slight angle. All very professional and polished. They each have some great tape to send out to prospective employers should their current endeavors not work out.

I imagine that it wasn't a great day at the network with the announcement that their NYRA coverage has been un-exclusived, and they will have to share the wealth with HRTV. It could get a little crowded on the clubhouse turn at Saratoga next year. In addition, wagering on the races has been offered to other platforms, as was the case in New Jersey; and deals have been concluded with the TrackNet outlets and Youbet. TVG's David Nathanson, putting the best face on the situation, said:

"Our investment in the best-of-breed wagering platforms, highest quality television production, and unmatched television distribution will continue to set TVG apart from others in the marketplace and [blah blah blah]." [Thoroughbred Times]
TVG certainly has the 'professional and polished' thing going on with their public relations as well. What they need, particularly during the winter months, is some more compelling content. If HRTV ever gets the Direct TV deal that there was recent speculation about, then TVG will lose what remains their greatest advantage - higher distribution. We'd see then how Nathanson would spin that.


ljk said...

With Dish Network I get both networks. The talking heads on HRTV are no better than TVG. TVG at least recognizes that people are betting by offering tickets on pick 4 and pick 6's, and having their analysts actually make some picks each race. Yesterday I saw one suggested ticket on HRTV, by a guy named Veracruzzi on the ultra-lame "super high five".

The talkng heads on HRTV (all poor except Pincay and Siegel) were giggling about the chance to visit Saratoga this summer, but they don't even have on-site coverage at Gulfstream, arguably their biggest meet (until now). You'd think the racing sun rises and sets over Santa Anita if you watch HRTV.

So, for now it seems that HRTV may have the better "exclusives" CDI & Gulfstream? vs. Keeneland & Del Mar.

It seems obvious that there's not room for two networks. Things remaining the same, my money would still be on TVG. Plenty of questions about TVG's ownership though. Remember when the support of the NTRA actually seemed to mean something?

Anonymous said...

Albany Times Union

Racing panel sidesteps NYRA decision

ROBERT GAVIN, Staff writer

11:03 a.m., Saturday, December 29, 2007

Racing in New York remains in limbo.

A state panel declined to issue the New York Racing Association a temporary license into the new year saying it did not have the authority to do so. Dan Hogan, chairman of the New York Racing and Wagering Board, said that under Section 254 of the Racing Law, that power resides with another oversight committee, the Non-Profit Racing Association Oversight Board.

``They should have called us and asked us and we wouldn't have had a meeting today,'' Hogan said.

The decision on NYRA's extension was put in the hands of the Racing and Wagering Board under a deal reached Thursday between NYRA, the State Attorney General's office and the Oversight Board.

The franchise for NYRA to operate gaming and horse racing at Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct racetracks expires Monday. State officials have not reached a long-term decision on who will operate the tracks and are scrambling to implement a short-term solution.

When asked if racing would continue on Tuesday - when races are scheduled at Aqueduct - NYRA Chairman Charlie Hayward said ``I hope so.''

He said the necessary temporary-licensing power rested with the Wagering Board and not the Oversight Board.

Alan Mann said...

ljk - When I had Dish, I was amazed how minimal HRTV's Gulfstream coverage was. Even Golden Gate seemed to get more attention.

Anonymous said...

So there's a lot of sharing going on of former TVG exclusives to HRTV and Tracknet, but the sharing seems to only be going in one direction. Hey Tracknet, any chance you'll be giving up Churchill, Fair Grounds and other tracks? Hmm?