Gary Seibel, known as the voice and face of harness racing on Television Games Network (TVG) since the horse racing channel launched in 1999 and the host of the "Drive Time" show, told harnessracing.com early Friday evening that he has been laid off from the network. TVG announced last week that 20 employees had been let go but none were officially named in the company release.
"Yes, I was laid off along with some of my other colleagues," said Seibel who, ironically, will be formally inducted this July into the Communicators Corner of the Hall of Fame in Goshen, N.Y. Seibel, the longtime race announcer and assistant general manager at Pompano Park before moving to TVG's home base in southern California, has also been the primary host of the nationally-televised Hambletonian from the Meadowlands for many years.
Earlier published reports in various Thoroughbred publications identified Bob Badaeker, Chris Kotulak, Frank Lyons and Frank Mirahmadi as other on-air personalities who were among those laid off. Seibel, who on Feb. 28 was in Florida being honored for his upcoming Communicators Corner induction at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards dinner, was on vacation last week when word of the layoffs came out.
TVG was purchased in 2009 by the British-based Betfair. Stephen Burns, chief executive of parent company Betfair TVG, was quoted as saying TVG was "restructuring segments of company operations, including streamlining some production roles."