MidAtlantic Cooperative Issues Statement on Simulcast Signal Dispute With Monarch - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

MidAtlantic Cooperative Issues Statement on Simulcast Signal Dispute With Monarch

MidAtlantic Cooperative, a purchasing cooperative representing 23 racetracks, issued the following statement Monday regarding the dispute with Monarch Content Managemnt over simulcast signal distribution:

The MidAtlantic Cooperative, L.L.C. is a purchasing cooperative representing 23 racetracks that as a whole conduct over 1,800 live racing events annually, whose customers collectively wager approximately $1 billion annually, with hundreds of millions of that on Monarch represented products. By statute and contract, MidAtlantic member tracks annually support hundreds of millions of dollars of funding to purse and breeding funds for horsemen in their respective jurisdictions.

MidAtlantic member tracks have collectively invested billions of dollars in their facilities over the past 15 years which have fueled dramatic purse increases, stabilized troubled, geographically important bricks and mortar wagering outlets and developed several nationally significant racing events.  Three new “state of the art” horse racing facilities were opened in Ohio in 2014 by MidAtlantic member tracks representing an investment in excess of $800 million, thereby stabilizing another historic racing circuit.

Any assertion that MidAtlantic member racetracks are not providing their fair share towards racing's economy is a clear misstatement of facts.  MidAtlantic members have made a sizeable investment in the racing industry, and will continue to do so going forward.

The MidAtlantic Cooperative offers the following specific responses to Monarch statements in their December 5 press release:

“Monarch has done everything possible to try to ensure that signals remain on during our negotiations with the Mid-Atlantic Cooperative. In fact, Monarch has offered several times to extend the current terms of our simulcast agreement with the Mid-Atlantic tracks while negotiations continue in order that customers would not be inconvenienced.”

FACT:   On October 30, MidAtlantic provided Monarch a counter offer to their original proposal that was received October 17.    MidAtlantic engaged in several follow-up discussions with Monarch, and during each discussion, requested that Monarch respond with proposed terms based on that October 30 proposal.   The day before Thanksgiving (November 26), and just four days prior to the contract expiration, instead of providing MidAtlantic a proposal as repeatedly requested for over three weeks, Monarch offered to extend the agreement for “two or three weeks” with a commitment to send a proposal the following week.

The second offer for an extension was made the day after Thanksgiving, this time for only one week, with a commitment to get MidAtlantic a proposal by Tuesday, December 2.  The Monarch proposal was eventually received by MidAtlantic on Friday, December 5 at 2 pm.

MidAtlantic has presented a detailed response to Monarch's December 5th proposal within 72 hours of receipt and is committed to respond as quickly as possible in order to reach a resolution of this impasse.

“The Mid-Atlantic Cooperative was formed over a decade ago in order to keep the price that its member tracks pay for simulcast signals as low as possible.”

FACT:   MidAtlantic was formed in 1999 as a purchasing cooperative with the mission of providing its members efficiencies in any area of the members' business that was deemed to be of collective value by its members.

In addition to acquiring simulcast signals, MidAtlantic has engaged consultant services, commissioned legal research projects and pursued several initiatives requested by its members.

“Racetracks such as Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, Del Mar and Tampa Bay Downs, together with their horsemen, have made a significant investment in their product over the years, and the high quality of these racing signals has been maintained, if not improved.”

FACT:   MidAtlantic has acknowledged and accepted premium pricing for recognized premium content since its first year in existence.  As a purchaser of content, the MidAtlantic evaluates content based on its impact to its members.  In addition to those tracks mentioned above, MidAtlantic already pays premiums for several more tracks represented by Monarch.

“Approximately one-half of the Mid-Atlantic racetracks do not conduct any live thoroughbred racing.”

FACT: MidAtlantic members are equal partners in the Cooperative and shall, by agreement, receive equal treatment with regard to price increases in any agreement negotiated by the Cooperative.  Many of MidAtlantic's non-thoroughbred members pay millions of dollars by statute or contract to thoroughbred purse funds and breeding programs in their respective jurisdictions and a large percentage of revenues generated from simulcasting goes to purse and breeders funds for horsemen at all MidAtlantic member tracks.

While the Monarch statement states that non-thoroughbred tracks should pay more for thoroughbred content, Monarch itself represents a non-thoroughbred track and has yet to agree for that facility to pay premiums on MidAtlantic thoroughbred content.

The MidAtlantic Cooperative has and will continue to negotiate in good faith for a fair resolution to this impasse.  The MidAtlantic has been engaged and quick to respond on all matters involving this dispute.  Its members have, and will continue to recognize premium products but cannot accept proposals that overvalue certain content and provide no long term stability.

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