Breeders’ Cup, which Jan. 8 announced an expansion of its World Championships program from eight to 11 marquee races, is exploring the possibility of having a title sponsor for the entire event. Currently, most sponsors are affiliated with one race and its division.
The Breeders’ Cup board of directors, during a Jan. 7 meeting in Lexington, agreed to set the process in motion, Breeders’ Cup interim president and chief executive officer Greg Avioli said. The board will receive an update at its April meeting.
“We’re going to be interviewing a number of outside sponsorship sales agencies that could help us evaluate a title sponsor for the Breeders’ Cup,” Avioli said. “We want to see what the potential value of that would be in the international marketplace.”
Avioli said a title sponsorship could take on many forms; for instance, it could include the new Breeders’ Cup Challenge, a series of races that provide guaranteed berths in World Championships events beginning this year. Avioli said he doesn’t anticipate having a title sponsor for 2007, but Breeders’ Cup could be ready to make a push in 2008.
In 2006, Breeders’ Cup had the following race and division sponsors: Dodge (Classic), John Deere (Turf), Emirates Airline (Distaff and Filly & Mare Turf), NetJets (Mile), TVG (Sprint), and Bessemer Trust (Juvenile). The Juvenile Fillies Division had no sponsor.
The three new $1-million races for 2007 are the Dirt Mile, Filly & Mare Sprint, and Juvenile Turf. Those races will be on the first day of an expanded two-day Breeders’ Cup scheduled for Oct. 26-27 at first-time host Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
When asked if a title sponsorship would have some impact on race and division sponsors, Avioli said: “It’s something we’re taking a look at.” He also noted one of the existing sponsors could end up expressing interest in such a proposal.
Under the terms of their affiliate agreement, Breeders’ Cup pays the National Thoroughbred Racing Association a fee to assist it in the area of sponsorships. The sponsorships are closely linked with the NTRA group purchasing program.