Triple Crown Productions
was an ad hoc
production company that produced the series of Triple Crown races for thoroughbred horses
, a group of people wanted to increase the stature of the Triple Crown on television. Other than the Kentucky Derby
, the Preakness Stakes
and Belmont Stakes
were considered the two "other" races. ABC Sports
, which had broadcast the Derby since 1975, wanted to operated all three races. CBS Sports
, which showed the other two races, had much lower ratings for them, with the possible exceptions of years in which the Crown was at stake like 1973
, and 1978
In 1977, ABC was awarded the contract to televise the Preakness.
TCP was formed in 1985 after CBS terminated it's contract with NYRA. ABC Sports won the rights to broadcast all three races, as well as many prep races. Ratings went up after the package was centralized.
This arrangement continued until 2001
, when NBC Sports
took over. Under NBC, ratings continued to go up, by as much as 20 percent in some years. It didn't hurt that many horses, like Funny Cide
and Smarty Jones
, were making Triple Crown runs during those years (although all of them failed). From 2002
, the Belmont had the highest ratings of any horse race on television.
After the 2004 race, the New York Racing Association ended its deal with NBC, citing a conflict over profit-sharing arrangements. ABC won the rights to the Belmont, and TCP was effectively dissolved. The Derby and Preakness are still on NBC.