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Breeders' Cup, Deere Negotiating

Breeders' Cup and John Deere are in sponsorship negotiations.

Breeders’ Cup officials are in talks with John Deere, which gained entitlement rights to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Division in 2001, to continue its sponsorship.

John Deere, which has long been the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s official supplier of farm equipment, was presenting sponsor of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I) in 2001. In 2002, the race--now worth $3 million--became the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf as part of a multi-year sponsorship deal.

“We’re now in discussions with John Deere, which has expressed an interest in continuing as a sponsor,” Breeders’ Cup president Greg Avioli said Jan. 14. “But the exact terms and benefits are yet to be agreed upon.”

Keith Chamblin, NTRA senior vice president of communications and industry relations, said Jan. 14 the NTRA has a separate agreement with John Deere concerning sales. John Deere will continue to be a major part of NTRA Advantage, which formerly was known as NTRA Purchasing.

“On the NTRA side, it’s business as usual--full speed ahead,” Chamblin said.

The Breeders’ Cup board of directors is scheduled to meet Feb. 7. Sponsorships could be discussed at the meeting.

When John Deere signed the contract in 2001, it received, in addition to entitlement rights, advertising and other benefits in NTRA television programming, product placement at major races, and hospitality at major races and events. The company became the third title sponsor for the then eight-race Breeders’ Cup program.

In 2007, the Breeders’ Cup was expanded to 11 races, with three new events as part of a Friday program. This year's Friday program at Santa Anita Park will offer more new races.