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First year partnership confirms global fanbase for watching live rodeo entertainment

FORT WORTH, TX. – The Cowboy Channel, which is the official network of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) and the first 24-hour television network totally dedicated to western sports and the western lifestyle, and RFD-TV, revealed today the audience for The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR), was double that of the previous year and saw exponential growth in numbers throughout the 10 days of broadcasting the NFR.

“The expanded coverage of the 2020 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo far exceeded previous television viewership, and for the first time, the entire program was featured live in prime time to the eastern time zone,” said George Taylor, CEO of the PRCA. “The increased viewership allowed for more fan engagement with hours of extended programming that delivered the entire NFR Experience in Texas. The Cowboy Channel’s commitment to the PRCA partnership was showcased with their production of a truly outstanding NFR television production that captured every detail of the live competition.”

By more than doubling viewership, The Cowboy Channel and RFD-TV were  successful in seeing growth in the first year of a six year deal the two networks have to broadcast  all 10 nights of the National Finals Rodeo live with the PRCA.

"Since signing our agreement with the PRCA, we realized that our production of our first NFR would be the most important broadcast in our company's 20-year history, and that’s exactly what happened,” stated Patrick Gottsch, Founder and  President of Rural Media Group, Inc., parent company of RFD-TV, RURAL RADIO on SiriusXM and The Cowboy Channel.  “We went all out and used 22 cameras, two Skycams (for the first time) and a Ghostcam.  Our star-studded broadcast team provided the perfect combination to put the NFR on a level with any other championship sports final’s championship.”  

In addition to covering 24 hours of live rodeo over the 10 days of the NFR, The Cowboy Channel also produced another 85 hours of live programming, including the NFR Tailgate Party from The Fort Worth Stockyards, which is the home of the Cowboy Channel, a special NFR edition Western Sports Round-Up, which is considered the networks daily western sports news program,  Pre and Post coverage shows each day before and after the NFR and a 90 minute nightly awards ceremony called The NFR Buckle Presentation. 

“Having the NFR in Texas this year gave us a tremendous opportunity to showcase our home in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards,” said Raquel Gottsch, CEO of The Cowboy Channel. “One thing I personally am very proud of is that we had an all-female broadcast team hosting our three-hour NFR Tailgate Party television show - a real first in sports broadcasting.” She added,  “It’s our version of GameDay meets Today Show and we covered it all from rodeo news and interviews with rodeo legends to western fashion, country music, cowboy cooking, and more. The on-site crowd loved it and for the first time ever, the true NFR experience was captured on television and shared with everyone at home watching.”

The audience numbers saw tremendous national and international growth with those who signed up for  the PRCA on Cowboy Channel+ App to live stream and watch the 10 days of coverage.  The broadcast also implemented for the first time a Spanish language and a Portuguese feed. The sign-ups came from across the globe to include Australia, Brazil, Argentina and The United Kingdom to name a few, as well as the US.  The diverse fanbase demonstrated the appeal of rodeo outside of rural America. Canada had the highest percentage of viewers streaming daily.