It’s a logical question — instead of holding the first day of the Breeders’ Cup on a Friday when many people are working and unable to attend, why don’t the Breeders’ Cup folks hold the World Championships on Saturday and Sunday?
Well, I posed that question to Peter Land, chief marketing officer for Breeders’ Cup Limited, and here’s what he said: “We wouldn’t get the television window on Sunday because ESPN has previous commitments and ABC has previous commitments. As a premiere sporting event in the fall, going up against college football on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday probably wouldn’t give us the best chance to succeed.”
He’s probably right, considering that both horse racing and the National Football League attract a large number of gamblers. Given the choice of the Breeders’ Cup or NFL Sunday, many of those bettors would undoubtedly choose football because it’s the No. 1 gambling sport in America, despite what NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says.
So, just in case you were wondering, don’t expect the Breeders’ Cup to race on a Sunday anytime soon. Some of the leaders in the horse racing industry are not the brightest bulbs in the room, but they’re not blind to the fact that horse racing — which just five years ago was judged in an ESPN poll to be this country’s fastest-growing sport (wow, how times have changed, huh?) — is no match for pro football when it comes to betting or viewership.