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Peter Land Breeders' Cup Chief Marketing Officer

Friday, October 10, 2008

Peter Land is Chief Marketing Officer of Breeders' Cup Limited. Land is responsible for the integrated marketing of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, the Breeders' Cup Challenge, Breeders' Cup Stakes program and Breeders' Cup Foal and Stallion nominations. He oversees sponsorship, event planning and marketing, television, advertising, digital marketing, merchandising, licensing and communications for the organization.

Prior to his current job, Land was the Global Managing Director of the international public relations firm Edelman. Among his clients at Edelman were Canon, Duke University, GE, Johnson & Johnson, NBC Universal, NY Road Runners, PGA TOUR, Samsung and Unilever.Previously, he was director of marketing communications for the NBA for five years from 1993-1998.

Prior to joining the NBA, Land worked with Kraft Foods in London as director of European promotions. He is a cum laude graduate of Duke University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History. Land serves on the advisory board of the Women's Sports Foundation and the City Parks Foundation and on the board of the entertainment marketing program at NYU's Stern School of Business and the National Sports Marketing Network.

He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Kim, and children Sara and Cole.

Austin, Texas:
Most horse players are scratching their heads trying to figure out why the Breeders Cup allowed Santa Anita to host back to back BC events? Did you ever consider the Fair Grounds, Keeneland, Arlington Park, Laurel or Pimlico, or back to Florida again (Gulfstream)? Why give a racetrack like Santa Anita two straight years of hosting the top race event of the year, especially with the Pro-Ride racing surface?

We are fortunate in that there are always several venues that are interested in hosting the Breeders’ Cup. When our site selection committee met in February, we reviewed multiple proposals, but Santa Anita for us made the most sense for a variety of reasons. We were coming off a bad weather experience at Monmouth; we wanted to see if there would be long-term benefits for the event and for our brand by staying for two years in a major media market like Los Angeles; and we felt it was important to see if we could recognize any operation efficiencies by staying in Santa Anita again in 2009. As you know, we just announced that we are going back to Churchill in 2010, and there are several venues who have expressed interest in 2011 and beyond both inside and outside the U.S., like Woodbine. We have to make sure that the venue is capable of hosting an event of our magnitude and can meet our specifications surrounding track size, customer service, ticket needs and other areas.

Lincoln, Nebraska:
The Breeders Cup bills itself as the true "world championship of horse racing" but we rarely if ever see the top thoroughbred horses from Japan, Hong Kong, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Germany, South Africa or Dubai. In fact, the Dubai World Cup races offer much more of an international flair. What is being done to make the Breeders Cup races truly international? Why is it so difficult for you folks to get the great race horses from all around the world to come in each year?

You will see a greater emphasis on international outreach this year and in subsequent years. I agree that we need to do a better job of ensuring more horses from abroad come to the Breeders’ Cup. Our move next year to the first week of November will help because it will be mean more weeks between the Breeders’ Cup and major events like the Fall Ascot meet, the Arc and Woodbine’s International day.

Canterbury, CT:
Hi Mr. Land, thanks for coming on to answer our questions. I want to pursue a career in the Thoroughbred Horse Racing Industry in Marketing/Advertising, how should I go about doing it? Any tips on how to get jobs or gain experience?

University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program is a start. I have met many graduates that have come from there. It gives them a head start on a career in the sport. But I wouldn’t get too hung up on specific education or job experience in the equine industry. We look at candidates who have a strong track record in sales, event management, digital marketing and other areas that relate to the Breeders’ Cup.

Dallas, TX :
Many racing fans are angry about the two-day format, Filly Friday, Win And You're In, two straight years at Santa Anita and the renaming of the Distaff. Since all of these changes seem to have been made with marketing in mind, would you explain the thought processes behind them?

Let me address the Friday card first. First and foremost, the move to an all filly and mare schedule on Friday was a racing decision not a marketing decision. We believe that the fillies and mares deserve a Championship day of their own and that fans will enjoy two near equal days of Championship racing. The alternative is to have Friday as a feeder day to Saturday and that didn’t sit well with us. Look at the US Open tennis event. The women’s final used to be sandwiched between the men’s semifinals on Saturday afternoon. Now it’s on Saturday night in prime time on CBS and they own the stage. We like our new model and think it will stand the test of time. As for the name of the event, that was a marketing decision. We are trying to make the Breeders’ Cup more accessible and appealing to those inside and outside of our sport. The Distaff name certainly has a tradition and history, but our research indicated that practically no one outside of horse racing knew what it was. Thus, the name change. I completely respect and understand the traditionalist point of view on both the card and name change. But interleague play and the DH in MLB, the wild-card in the NFL, the 3-point shot in NBA and college were all ideas that didn’t sit well with traditionalists but have become an accepted and important part of the sports landscape painted over the last 20 year. The Giants don’t win the Super Bowl without the Wild Card, Kansas doesn’t win the NCAA without the 3-point shot and the Dodgers and Red Sox are not in the MLB playoffs today without game changing innovations.

Syracuse, NY:
Will the Breeders’ Cup ever go to Saratoga?

I guess you can never say never, but the weather and the venue size would make it very difficult. We love Saratoga and imagine the Breeders’ Cup Challenge will always be part of the meet there.

Lexington, KY:
Peter Could you elaborate on the target audience the Breeders Cup has in its long term plan and what experience do you have in the arena.

We have a very unique marketing challenge at the Breeders’ Cup. We have several audiences. Owners/breeders whose horses we want to compete, fans around the world whom we want to attend, wagerers around the work whom we want to engage, TV viewers, and fans from the local market who want to experience the best of the best in our sport live and in person. We also want to bring new people into our sport and event. Like any sports property, or consumer packaged goods for that matter, the key marketing objective is retaining your core user base and bringing new people into the franchise. That’s my goal -- make the Breeders’ Cup experience even better for the audiences who know and love us while forging relationships with new fans. That’s one of the reasons we expanded our digital efforts this year and just launched a Facebook page. I’m fortunate in that I’ve had great teachers in this regard when I worked on the Ryder Cup as far back as 1989, then at the NBA for five years as head of marketing communications and at a global marketing firm, where we helped NASCAR, the US Open and others expand their base.

Happy Valley, PA:
Peter, How are you going to try and convince Joe Six Pack to watch the Breeders' Cup instead of watching one of the following games on Oct 25: Alabama vs. Tennessee, Oklahoma vs. Kansas State, USC vs. Arizona, or Penn State vs. Ohio State?

Well, my dad went to Penn State and I’m a big Nittany Lion fan, and if they are still undefeated I just might be checking my blackberry on Oct. 25, but the bottom line is that the NFL and college football rule the Fall season in nearly every metric there is in our business. We can’t really expect to pull in someone who is a passionate fans of any of the teams you mention if they are up against us directly. However, we do believe the ABC start on Saturday and the lead in we’ll get on ESPN later that afternoon will introduce new people to the Breeders’ Cup and we hope the races and the show are compelling enough to keep them. ESPN also has done a great job of promoting the Breeders’ Cup on its football programming so we believe that will help bring some new people to the telecast.

We are also fortunate that USC is on the road the week of the Breeders’ Cup so LA sports fans craving championship action can come to Santa Anita.

Lexington, KY:
Thanks Peter, for taking our questions. I'm having some difficulty in assessing which European horses will make the trip across the pond to compete in the Breeders' Cup. Is this something you’re involved with, and if so, could you shed some light on some of the Euro contenders who are expected to participate? I'm interested particularly in the Turf and Mile.

On Wednesday, we’ll be announcing pre-entries. We expect a large contingent from Europe. Be sure to check out on Wednesday morning.

Pompano Beach, FL:
A Breeders' Cup press release claims the organization reinstated the dime superfectas in the two classics because the organization "heard" the fans. Fans have been clamoring and begging all over the Internet, on radio talk shows and everywhere else possible for two years for the BC to ditch the useless, impractical and fan- unfriendly purple saddlecloth towels. When is the BC going to respond to what fans want in this regard or does the organization only care when handle becomes threatened due to dissatisfaction?

It’s a great question and I’ll be honest with you and let you know that we debated it internally earlier this year. There are some within our organization that support your point of view and others who believe the tradition of the purple saddlecloths is one that separates us out from every other event and is core to our identity. Frankly, the solution is Trakus, which would allow the wagerer/fan to track the horses without worrying about the color of the saddlecloth.

Red Hook, NY:
How will the current Wall Street crisis affect racing and particularly the Breeders’ Cup?

It is pretty scary to read the Wall Street Journal or turn on CNBC these days. I believe these last few weeks and months will be written about in history books for years to come as a huge turning point as it relates to government involvement in the US banking system. But that’s my opinion as a history major. As a sports fan and Breeders’ Cup executive whose event is two weeks away, here’s the answer you are looking for. The economy has impacted our sport. Wagering is down almost across the board in the U.S. For the Breeders’ Cup specifically, it will very likely affect wagering as people have less disposable income than they had even three months ago. It will not affect the quality of the production of our event nor will it impact the fan experience on site or those watching on TV. If we have the full fields we are expecting, the sunny weather than our friends at Santa Anita and Oak Tree promised, buzz around the Ladies Classic with Zenyatta and others, and the potential Big Brown-Curlin matchup, our 25th running should be the best Breeders’ Cup ever.

Lake Havasu City, AZ:
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. I'm sorry I'm not going to have much positive to ask, but I'm still ticked the Mare & Filly races are on Friday..all of them, and the new, non-graded stuff, if it's for the horses and geldings are all on Saturday. Why are the Mares & Fillies on a workday? Please do not use football as your answer. Why are you pandering by calling it "Ladies Day?"...why isn't Saturday "Gentlemen's Day?" with "awareness" of prostate cancer? And, lastly, why when I called your offices was I told to call in sick (e.g. lie), or use vacation time to watch the races?

I answered the question about the format change before. As for the name of the day, we are not calling it Ladies’ Day. It’s Championship Friday. I sincerely apologize if someone from our office suggested you call in sick. We certainly would not suggest that; however, we do hope that people both come out to Santa Anita and wager and watch (either on TV or online) on Friday the same way they do for events like the Masters, Wimbledon, a playoff game during a weekday in baseball, the NCAA tournament, etc.

New Zealand:
The BC is suppose to be an event highlighting the best of the best. I appreciate the BC reaching out to the world with 'Win and You're In' races in other countries, are there plans for more? And will you have international marketing to promote the BC to be a global event?

We are definitely looking to expand the Challenge to more international markets next year and recognize that we have to do more to promote the Breeders’ Cup outside the U.S. We know the global nature of the Breeders’ Cup is one of the elements that truly sets us apart in our industry.

Bridgeport, CT:
Hi Peter. Let me start by congratulating you and the rest of the Breeders’ Cup staff for the excellent job. Last year I went to the Breeders’ Cup for the first time, it was my first time in a race track and it was great. Since then I went to the Preakness, Belmont and Travers and the closest to you guys was the Travers. Even my mother who is not horse racing fan said that the Breeders’ Cup was one of the best events she’d ever been to. My question is; do you think there is a probability of making the “win and you’re in” free, so the owners of horse that let’s say got lucky could afford to go?

The Challenge is only in its second year and it’s fair to say that we will continue to tinker with it next year to see how we can improve it. I agree that we need to address the “Win and You’re In” provision because there should be a way to make it more impactful for the winner while at the same time not penalizing those who qualify in other ways and nominate their horses for the Breeders’ Cup when they are born.

Los Angeles, CA.:
Will we ever see the Breeders’ Cup Day races staged over in England at one of their racing venues with both Turf and Artificial racing surfaces in the near future?

Personally I would love to take the Breeders’ Cup to Europe or Dubai someday both to reinforce the global nature of our event and to introduce the Breeders’ Cup live experience to new fans. But that’s the CMO talking and I know that’s not necessarily viable. There are a host of operational and seasonal issues to overcome but I would say for now that we are leaving our options open.

Atlanta, GA:
How would you advise horse players like myself (who've been betting horses for 50 years) continual witness at alarming proportions horse trainers utilizing illegal drugs to try and get an advantage. I believe it's causing a downward death spiral of the sport and if not stamped out will kill off all bettors. What is the Breeders Cup management team doing to make sure the horses entered in this year’s races will be racing clean?

We have the toughest anti-steroid rules in our sport and we’re one of the first groups to both ban both anabolic steroids and arrange for EPO testing. As you know, our industry has some challenges as it relates to broad policy-making but the Breeders’ Cup has the ability to set standards and to try and take a leadership position within the industry not only as it relates to the Championships but also Breeders’ Cup Challenge and Stakes program funding provided by the Breeders’ Cup.

Lexington, KY:
What are your thoughts on running the Breeders' Cup at night?

Night racing is appealing to me because the trend in all of sports and entertainment is to have the marquee events take place in the evening so more people can participate. There are a few issues. Many tracks do not have lights, it gets cold in November at night in most of the East Coast venues capable of hosting a Breeders’ Cup and by having it at night in the U.S., it would be very difficult for our fans in Europe to enjoy the event. In addition our television contract with ESPN calls for Saturday afternoon as the six-hour block we negotiated. Now, while that looks like too many barriers to overcome, it is something we continue to look at and if we believe it makes sense for multiple constituencies down the road, I would not rule it out.

La Costa, CA:
I know this is probably a repeated question, but how is it determined that seating, even poor seating has tickets in the 200.00 area? Seems to me this is pricing out fans, the few there are that attend the races year round. I know at least 20 people that will not go the BC this year who live in Southern California because of this.

We have a $20 admission this year at Santa Anita on both days. If you just look at Saturday, that’s nine Breeders’ Cup races over six hours as part of a global championship sporting event in a major market. I believe that’s one of the best values in entertainment out there. I spent $25.00 taking my son to the movies the other night. and we were inside for 90 minutes watching a run of the mill film. Our strategy this year was to offer a range of options, and that’s what we did. If we could have predicted the economic downturn, we likely would have identified other areas at the facility with lower price points, but we can’t penalize people who already paid the original price for those seats. We will investigate creating more price options next year, but I believe what we offered this year was well in line with not only what other sporting events in LA offer but also what other global championship events do today.

Land: Thank you all for your questions! I hope that you will either attend this year’s 2008 Breeders’ Cup World Championships or tune in to ABC and ESPN to catch the excitement!

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