Churchill Downs, Yum! Brands Announce Five-Year Extension of Kentucky Derby Presenting Sponsorship Agreement

Jan 31, 2011 John Asher

Churchill Downs Racetrack and Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM) today announced a five-year extension of their 2006 agreement that made the world’s largest restaurant company the first named presenting sponsor of the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby, the historic track’s signature race and one of the country’s  major sports and entertainment events.

Under the agreement negotiated by the two Louisville, Ky.-based companies, the race will again be run as the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands when it is renewed for the 137th consecutive year on Saturday, May 7, at Churchill Downs.  It will be the sixth consecutive Kentucky Derby in which Yum! Brands has served as the Kentucky Derby’s presenting sponsor.

Terms of the extended agreement were not released.

The first major Kentucky Derby sponsorship contract between Churchill Downs and Yum! Brands was announced on Feb. 1, 2006, and the agreement announced today will continue the partnership through 2015.  Churchill Downs, which opened with the running of the first Kentucky Derby on May 17, 1875, is the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN). Yum! Brands, a Fortune 500 company that operates more than 37,000 restaurants in 110 countries, is the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s.

“Churchill Downs is very pleased to have reached this agreement with Yum! Brands, a great corporate citizen in our hometown, that extends its presenting sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby for five more years,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack.  “Our partnership with Yum! Brands has been positive for both companies and good for the Kentucky Derby, an event that is a great American tradition and a springtime sports party known and loved around the world.”

“YUM Brands is pleased to renew our presenting sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby, the greatest two minutes in sports,” said Jonathan Blum, Senior Vice President, YUM Brands, Inc.  “While millions of people know and love our leading restaurant brands, they may not know YUM Brands.  The sponsorship of the Kentucky Derby allows us to build awareness of YUM, the world’s largest restaurant company.”

The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands is coming off a very successful renewal on May 1, 2010, when, a crowd of 155,804 braved a daylong rain to witness a victory by WinStar Farm’s homebred Super Saver.  The Derby 136 winner provided Kentucky-based WinStar Farm and trainer Todd Pletcher with their first victories in the “Run for the Roses”, while jockey Calvin Borel won the race for the third time in four years. 

Total wagering on the 2010 Kentucky Derby was $112.7 million, an increase of 7.8 percent from the previous year.  Total wagering from all sources on the 13-race Kentucky Derby Day card at Churchill Downs was $162.7 million, an increase of 4.3 percent from the $156.0 million wagered a year earlier.

The Kentucky Derby is the only race in North America to attract wagering of more than $100 million.   The Derby’s attendance figure for 2010 marked the 10th time – and the sixth consecutive year – that America’s greatest race had attracted a crowd in excess of 150,000.

The presenting sponsorship agreement will not impact the purse of the Kentucky Derby, which stands at $2 million guaranteed.  But, like Churchill Downs’ previous agreement with Yum! Brands, owners and trainers who race their horses at Churchill Downs’ Spring and Fall Meets will benefit as a portion of the sponsorship’s revenues will go to race purses through a formula agreed upon in the most recent agreement between the track and horsemen.

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