BC Revenue Down; Loss Less Than Expected

Breeders' Cup won't lose as much money as expected this year.

Breeders’ Cup expected a loss of about $5.6 million this year, but with 2009 coming to an end, it appears the loss will be closer to $1.3 million.

The almost 80% reduction in projected loss is attributed to a $3-million boost from investments from January-November; a 60% increase in sponsorship revenue; and a 15% jump in foal nominations — all above budget — according to sources close to Breeders’ Cup. The organization reduced fees for early nominations; the total number of foals nominated is said to be 12,500.

Sources said Breeders’ Cup also cut non-purse expenses by about $8 million in 2009.

As for this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships, it appears revenue is above budget, but figures weren’t available. Total pari-mutuel handle topped $150 million during the two-day event at Oak Tree at Santa Anita Park.

The $1-million that nominators saved via early foal nominations contributed to a $600,000 drop in Breeders’ Cup nominations revenue; otherwise, revenue would have increased without the “stimulus plan” offered to nominators.

The Breeders’ Cup board of directors is currently developing a strategic plan for various programs and the World Championships moving forward. The organization’s 2010 budget will take into account expected reductions in stallion-season revenue given lower stud fees, and perhaps less foal-nomination revenue given a declining crop.

Revenue from stallion seasons will be known in the first quarter of 2010.

Sources said, however, it’s too early to predict how purses will be impacted in 2010 given the improved 2009 financial picture. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the two-day World Championships, and traditionally the Kentucky racetrack is a leading revenue-generator for Breeders’ Cup given large crowds and wagering figures.

The last time Churchill hosted the Cup it was a one-day event that produced about $6 million in revenue for Breeders’ Cup, according to the organization.

There has been talk of changes to the race schedule for the World Championships—fewer events and lower purses—but as of now, the program remains intact.