After having some time to reflect upon how the first Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Day turned out, Peter Land, chief marketing officer of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. said it was a success on most fronts, though it’s still early to claim total victory.
“One of the great things about being in the same venue (two years in a row) is that you can learn what works, what needs to be adjusted, and where we can make some changes,” said Land, explaining the one major aspect of Ladies’ Day to be reconsidered for next year is the steep price of tickets.
“Many of the tickets were two-day purchases, and we need to rethink that for next year,” said Land of the admission price, which was $250 for most grandstand seats. “I think predominantly people want to come both Friday and Saturday, but we need to develop some sections where we have each.
“When we first looked at ticket pricing, it was February, and it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say the world has changed in the last six months. Based on the economy, if we could have read the tea leaves, I think we would have been a little less aggressive with pricing. Who knows where we’re going to be a year from now, but it’s safe to say we would have a few more areas where we could lower prices (next year).”
Land said the Breeders’ Cup had tried to make the price tag on tickets this year comparable to other sporting events in the area, such as a Dodgers game in Los Angeles. He pointed out that the $20 general admission Breeders’ Cup price Oct. 24 was a great deal even though the price didn’t guarantee a seat.
“I still think a $20 access to a World Championship event in the Los Angeles market is probably the best value in sport,” Land said.
In all, Land said Ladies’ Day had really exceeded expectations in terms of the record $48 million handle, strong attendance figures, how well it was received by horsemen and fans, and the fact there were no injuries on the track.
“Those who didn’t think (Ladies’ Day) was a good idea thought we were going to do all these things geared toward ladies, but that was really never the idea,” said Land. “The idea was to create two championship days of racing--in some respects equal, but different days of racing.”
Land said the creation of Ladies’ Day wasn’t a marketing decision, but rather a racing choice based on the fact they didn’t want the Friday Breeders’ Cup races to feel like a warm up for Saturday. “We didn’t want it to feel like five races that are a little less important than Saturday races,” he explained.
“We have a superstar in Zenyatta — she’s in all the papers today,” he continued. “If we didn’t have something like (Ladies’ Day), she would have been buried and Curlin would have been the big story of the day no matter what happened, and Zenyatta would be a footnote. So this way, we’re able to feature all the females. Now that we have 14 different races and five with fillies and mares, we had the opportunity to create a true championship for the fillies and mares, and that’s what we did. So I think it’s the right thing for the sport and it was absolutely the right decision.”