Behind The Scenes

NYC Marathon Races to ESPN

ESPN and WABC-TV have reached a five-year deal with the ING NYC Marathon.

The ING New York City Marathon will be shown on live national television in 2012 for the first time in almost 20 years. The Marathon will be televised live nationally on ESPN2 and available through WatchESPN from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET. The agreement begins with this year’s event on Sunday, Nov. 4.

Front Row caught up with Doug White, Senior Director of Programming & Acquisitions, to discuss the importance of this acquisition.

FR: What can you tell fans about ESPN’s recent deal with the New York Road Runners?

DW: It’s a five-year deal, beginning in 2012 and goes through 2016.. We’re partnering with our ABC Affiliate WABC-TV. We will telecast the New York City Marathon beginning in 2012. It’s the first Sunday in November.

FR: What does this mean for ESPN? Fans?

DW: It’s a great event. It’s one of the premier marathons in the world. It is at the top of the list. It goes along with our championship philosophy of being able to bring our fans the very best events that are out there. We feel that the ING New York City Marathon is one of those premier events.

FR: Where can fans tune in at race time this November?

DW: Our fans will be able to tune in to ESPN2. The race will also be available on our WatchESPN app. In the New York City area, you can watch it on WABC-TV, which is our ABC affiliate, and they’ll also be streaming it on their website. If you miss the race, you’ll be able to see the race on ABC later that day.

FR: Is this deal part of a new strategy to focus on road races? Will ESPN pursue the rights to more races in the future?

DW: It’s not necessarily a new strategy. We have premier track and field events on our network. This is one of those premier events, so if these kinds of events make themselves available to us, we will try to go out and acquire them.

We worked very closely with our WABC-TV counterparts. We thought that this would be a property that’s valuable not only to ESPN2, but also to ABC. I think it shows good synergy between the two groups and how we can work together and leverage our assets to bring in a premier event to the company.

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