Anne M. Eberhardt

Yum! Brands to Sponsor Derby Thru 2015

Louisville-based Yum! Brands extends sponsorship agreement with Churchill Downs.

Churchill Downs Inc. and Yum! Brands announced  Jan. 13 a five-year extension of their 2006 agreement that made the restaurant company the first named presenting sponsor of the $2 million Kentucky Derby (gr. I), the historic track’s signature race and one of the country’s major sports and entertainment events.

Under the agreement negotiated by the two Louisville, Ky.-based companies, the race will again be run as the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands  through 2015. This year’s Derby, the 137th running, will be May 7. It will be the sixth consecutive Kentucky Derby in which Yum! Brands has served as the Kentucky Derby’s presenting sponsor.

Terms of the extended agreement were not released.

“Churchill Downs is very pleased to have reached this agreement with Yum! Brands, a great corporate citizen in our hometown, that extends its presenting sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby for five more years,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs.  “Our partnership with Yum! Brands has been positive for both companies and good for the Kentucky Derby, an event that is a great American tradition and a springtime sports party known and loved around the world.”

“Yum! Brands is pleased to renew our presenting sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby, the greatest two minutes in sports,” said Jonathan Blum, senior vice president, Yum! Brands.  “While millions of people know and love our leading restaurant brands, they may not know YUM Brands.  The sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby allows us to build awareness of Yum!, the world’s largest restaurant company.”

Yum! Brands, a Fortune 500 company that operates more than 37,000 restaurants in 110 countries, is the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver’s.

The presenting sponsorship agreement will not impact the purse of the Kentucky Derby, which stands at $2 million guaranteed.  But, like Churchill Downs’ previous agreement with Yum! Brands, owners and trainers who race their horses at Churchill Downs’ spring and fall meets will benefit as a portion of the sponsorship’s revenues will go to race purses through a formula agreed upon in the most recent agreement between the track and horsemen.

Total wagering on the 2010 Kentucky Derby, won by WinStar Farm’s Super Saver, was $112.7 million, an increase of 7.8% from the previous year. Total wagering from all sources on the 13-race Kentucky Derby Day card at Churchill Downs was $162.7 million, an increase of 4.3% from the $156 million wagered a year earlier.