NTRA Goes Own Way in Sponsorship Sales

Having moved its sponsorship sales initiatives in house, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is no longer using Host Communications of Lexington as its official agency. The one-year agreement, which was sealed in late 2000, ended earlier this year and wasn't renewed.

Host Communications, headed by Jim Host, is known for its representation of the NCAA and its Final Four for men and women. Host was involved in the rebranding of the Breeders' Cup to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships.

"We mutually concluded the agency relationship," said D.G. Van Clief Jr., president of the Breeders' Cup and vice chairman of the NTRA. "It was amicable, and it revolved around two concurrent courses of action. Host got the NCAA tournament rights, which necessitated a strong focus on their team's part on that property, and at the same time, the NTRA was building its in-house capabilities."

Jim Host continues to make himself available as a consultant, Van Clief said. Chip Campbell heads the NTRA sponsorship and television endeavors, he said.

The NTRA and Breeders' Cup, which now operate under a joint budget, continue to work on strengthening international relationships that could lead to the sale of corporate sponsorship packages. They recently announced a marketing partnership with Ascot in England and Longchamp in France.