John Deere Cuts Breeders' Cup Turf Deal

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup Limited have announced that John Deere will have entitlement rights to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf, its was announced Friday. The Turf is one of eight races that comprise the $13 million Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships. John Deere, the NTRA's official supplier of farm equipment, was the presenting sponsor of the 2001 edition of the Breeders' Cup Turf.

As part of the multi-year agreement, John Deere also becomes title sponsor of the Breeders' Cup Turf Division, a series or national and international races that are part of the Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships, televised by ESPN and ESPN2. John Deere will also be the presenting sponsor of the newly created Great State Challenge, an annual event featuring the top state-bred horses from around the country.

"This marks a significant expansion of John Deere's marketing and promotional commitment to Thoroughbred racing," said NTRA commissioner Tim Smith. "Our partnership with John Deere continues to grow and we look forward to further expansion."

"The John Deere brand is an excellent association with the Breeders' Cup Turf and the World Thoroughbred Championships," said D.G. Van Clief Jr., president of Breeders' Cup Limited. "We are pleased that John Deere has joined our roster of title sponsors so soon after being a presenting sponsor."

"As a premier provider of agricultural equipment and turf care products, we have built a naturally, valuable alliance with the horseracing industry and look forward to taking this relationship to the next level," said Mark Johnson, manager of national sales for John Deere's agricultural division. "Our company is committed to working closely with the Thoroughbred industry for years to come."

In addition to the entitlement rights, Deere will receive advertising and other benefits in NTRA television programming, product placement at major races, and hospitality at major races and events. Deere becomes the third title sponsor in the eight-race Breeders' Cup program and divisions. Earlier this year, Bessemer Trust Company became the title sponsor for the Juvenile division, and Penske Auto Centers for the Sprint division.

In other news Friday, the NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited outlined strategic programs for 2002 and beyond at the Symposium on Racing in Tucson, Arizona, including national marketing and advertising for Thoroughbred racing, television, and legislative and lobbying activities.

SWR Worldwide CEO Greg Schneiders and senior vice president John Della Volpe presented preliminary results of new consumer research on horseracing's current, light, and lapsed fans. The qualitative research complements the quantitative research produced for the NTRA by ESPN Sports Poll, and will provide the foundation for Phase Two marketing programs.