Another story that got by us Friday involving local media is this one — ESPN is dropping its coverage of the Wednesday night post position selection broadcast during Derby Week.
It looks like the four-letter network is lessening its horse racing coverage. Two weeks ago it announced it would not carry the Kentucky Oaks.
No one around here ever really got into that made-for-TV show down at Fourth Street Live anyway. It required owners of Derby contenders to use some strategy in picking their own post position in order, based on an earlier lottery, in front of live TV cameras. ESPN tried to make it a big show, but never really pulled it off, even with dramatic signage and a decent crowd.
Now the post position draw will take place at the track, using the same format ESPN used, but without all the interviews and commercial breaks. Maybe some local stations will carry it live, which is as it should be, because few outside Louisville really care. That way it’s not likely to last more than 30 minutes.
As for the Oaks, ESPN’s decision to drop the race is baffling, but indicative that the viewers are losing interest in the sport.
“ESPN still has a great commitment to horse racing,” said ESPN spokesman Mark Mandel, after the network announced it wouldn’t carry the Oaks. Instead, the race will be carried nationally on the Bravo network. Huh?
Bravo apparently caters to ladies, and it’s fillies in the race. But no, that doesn’t make any sense. Bravo carries shows like Top Chef and Project Runway, not sports.