Annually one of the most highly anticipated events for dog lovers across the country, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has a new television home, as FOX Sports and the Westminster Kennel Club have reached a 10-year worldwide, multi-platform rights agreement to bring the Westminster Kennel Club’s conformation show to FOX Sports 1 and Nat Geo WILD beginning in 2017. The agreement was announced today by Bill Wanger, FOX Sports Executive Vice President of Programming, Research & Content Strategy and Westminster Kennel Club President Seán W McCarthy.
“We’re really excited to add the Westminster Dog Show to FOX Sports 1’s expanding portfolio,” said FOX Sports’ Wanger. “Event programming has been a big part of FOX Sports’ DNA for more than 20 years, and the Westminster Dog Show has tremendous prestige and cachet.”
“We are excited about our future long-term partnership with FOX,” said McCarthy. “We are both committed to putting on the best conformation show and agility trial possible as Westminster continues in its role as a leader in the sport of dogs.”
“Nat Geo WILD is thrilled to be joining our partners at Fox Sports 1 as the new home of this pillar of canine programming,” added Geoff Daniels, EVP and GM of Nat Geo WILD. “As the only network on television fully dedicated to showcasing animals and the people that love them as much as we do, I feel like the Westminster Dog Show is finally coming home!”
Beginning in 2017, the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show airs in primetime on FOX Sports 1 live from New York City’s Madison Square Garden as the seven Best In Group selections are made on Monday and Tuesday night, leading up to Tuesday night’s Best In Show announcement. Nat Geo WILD and FOX Sports digital platforms provide additional coverage, carrying daytime breed judging from Piers 92 and 94 in New York, and Nat Geo WILD also offers encore airings of each night’s programs.
The agreement also results in FOX Sports 1 remaining home to the Masters Agility Championship at Westminster, with encores on Nat Geo WILD. The Masters Agility Championship features dogs attacking an obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, weave poles and more in a timed competition. Taking place on Saturday before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, the Masters Agility Championship made its debut on FOX Sports 1 in 2014, and now continues airing on the network and Nat Geo WILD through 2026.
The 2017 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show marks the event’s 141st edition, making it the second-longest continuously held sporting event in the United States, behind only the Kentucky Derby. FOX Sports 1 is the first new primary television home for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show since it first aired on USA Network in 1984, a channel the show occupies, with CNBC, through 2016.