Live TV Eclipse Goes to NBC Sports

Posted Jan. 4, 2016

NBC Sports has won the Media Eclipse Award for Television – Live Racing Programming for its broadcast of the 2015 Belmont Stakes featuring American Pharoah’s win of the race. The two-hour broadcast aired June 6 and captured the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years.

An announcement of the accomplishment was made today by the NTRA, Daily Racing Form and the NTWAB. The trophy will be presented to NBC Sports at Eclipse Awards dinner and ceremony on Jan. 16 at Gulfstream Park.
It's the 12th Media Eclipse Award in the Live Television category for NBC. The decision for the award was made unanimously.

NBC’s broadcast of the Belmont Stakes was one of the most highly anticipated sporting events of 2015. Millions tuned in to see whether American Pharoah, owned by Zayat Stables, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Victor Espinoza, could break the 37-year drought.

NBC built drama and pace into the show with profiles of the leading contenders and pictures and descriptions of American Pharoah’s journey from the barn to the saddling area, then from the paddock to the racetrack. The broadcast climaxed with American Pharoah’s front-running victory and was punctuated by an iconic race call from Larry Collmus.

NBC utilized a full array of talent and production in pre- and post-race coverage. It included historical analysis and interviews about the enormous challenge facing American Pharoah as well as potential spoilers in the field. Using an array of 42 cameras, NBC captured not only the 1 1/2-mile race but also the outpouring of joy from fans and winning connections at the track.

“On behalf of the dedicated men and women who work on NBC’s horse racing coverage, I am honored to accept this prestigious award,” said Rob Hyland, coordinating producer of NBC Sports Group’s horse racing coverage. “When American Pharoah crossed the finish line at Belmont Park, our production philosophy was very simple – document the moment and let the moment speak for itself. As Bob Costas so eloquently said that afternoon, the Triple Crown is ‘just so difficult, so unlikely, so rare, so stupendous an achievement that we won’t soon forget what we witnessed today at Belmont Park.’ June 6, 2015, is a day that all of us at NBC Sports will remember for the rest of our lives. It was a privilege and an honor to be a part of such a defining moment in sports history.”

The Belmont Stakes broadcast was directed by Drew Esocoff, and coverage featured hosts Costas, a 26-time Emmy Award-winner, and Tom Hammond, a veteran NBC Sports commentator; analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey, the Hall of Fame jockey and two-time Belmont winner; analysts/handicappers Bob Neumeier and Eddie Olczyk; NBCSN host/NBC reporter Laffit Pincay III; reporters Kenny Rice, Donna Brothers and Jay Privman; and race caller Collmus. Carolyn Manno and Josh Elliott provided a mix of features and interviews at Belmont Park.

Judges for the National Television – Live Racing category were: Jay Posner, Editor – Arts & Entertainment of the San Diego Union-Tribune; Patti Wolfe, former ABC Sports producer; and director/producer Doug Wren of Wren Productions.

Edited NTRA release