Report: Potential Sports Betting Sponsorship Deal Helps Fox Sports Land Belmont Stakes

Written By Mike Mazzeo on December 6, 2021
Belmont Stakes Television Coverage Fox

There’s a new TV home for the Belmont Stakes.

And a potential sports betting sponsorship reportedly has a lot to do with it.

Veteran media reporter Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported that the Belmont will switch from NBC Sports to Fox Sports. McCarthy added that the switch is at least somewhat due to a potential multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Fox Bet.

According to Front Office Sports, the deal totals $12 million — $5 million in annual rights fees plus $7 million for the Fox Bet sponsorship.

NBC’s current deal with Belmont expires after the 2022 race. The network will still carry the first two legs of the Triple Crown: the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

The Belmont lags behind the other two races in terms of viewership and intrigue. That is, unless there’s a rare Triple Crown possibility. Just 13 horses have ever won the Triple Crown. Justify was the last to do so in 2018.

Networks, sports betting companies keep doing business

Interestingly, Fox Bet was among the bidders not selected for an online sports betting license in New York. Although horse racing is obviously an extremely popular sport for bettors across the country.

Fox does have a deal with the New York Racing Association (NYRA), Front Office Sports noted, to broadcast daily races from Belmont Park and Saratoga through 2030. And it is the official sports betting partner of NYRA Bets.

A potential Belmont-Fox Sports/Fox Bet deal would become just the latest mega partnership move as sports betting continues to fuel the interest of networks and professional sports leagues.

The PGA/PointsBet/NBC partnership for TV coverage is another example. Granted, Fox is a bit unique in that it has both the TV network and sportsbook.

These entities see the benefits of working with one another, though it will be interesting to see how things evolve. An influx of sports betting ads has led to backlash, and potentially harsher restrictions, much like those already in Europe.

Bill Miller, president of the American Gaming Association, said at SBC Summit North America last week that the current level of sports betting ads is “an unsustainable arms race,” according to the Associated Press.

NY Senator keen to bring horse racing to NY sports betting apps

Sen. Joe Addabbo has introduced a bill that would allow fixed-odds horse racing to be featured on the nine NY online sportsbooks that secured licenses in the state.

Addabbo has made no secret about the fact he’d like bettors to be able to wager on local professional teams as well as participate in New York horse betting, such as the fourth race at Saratoga. Currently, bettors can wager on horse racing-specific apps or at the physical NY racetracks.

The NYRA heavily supports the Addabbo bill. It would help an industry that is constantly questioning its own long-term viability as the generations change.

“It would expand consumer choice by placing premium horse racing content on the same mobile shelf as other professional sports, which would generate $1 billion or more in gaming revenue for the state,” spokesman Patrick McKenna previously told PlayNY in a statement.

According to the NYRA, horse racing is responsible for 19,000 jobs in the state and more than $3 billion in annual economic impact.

Photo by AP / Seth Wenig
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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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