SBD/April 5, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Maryland Jockey Club President Defends Kegasus Preakness Campaign

Chuckas says Kegasus is only one of several campaigns promoting Preakness
Maryland Jockey Club President & COO Tom Chuckas said that Preakness Stakes weekend is the "most important component of the organization’s bottom line and that the controversial 'Kegasus' campaign is part of an effort to make the event a success," according to Ron Mitchell of BLOODHORSE.com. Chuckas: "Preakness weekend is the most significant and major component to the bottom line of the Maryland Jockey Club. On a two-fold premise, with premise 'A' being the financial responsibility I have, it is imperative that the infield is filled with people who are out there to enjoy themselves, but it is a bottom line issue. We need people in the infield to help our bottom line." Chuckas said that the campaign "cost less than $400,000," and added that the Kegasus promotion is "only one of several that will be undertaken to advertise different aspects of the Preakness experience." Chuckas: "Kegasus’ goal is to promote a party. We view it as the 'peoples' party.' There is a lot of entertainment value in the infield. That demographic is between (the ages of) 21 and 35 or 40. Kegasus is targeted specifically for the infield fest" (BLOODHORSE.com, 4/1).

THE RIGHT MOVE? In Baltimore, Scott Graham writes, "I just want to know who at the Jockey Club thought it was a good idea to let this centaur out of Greek mythology. The Jockey Club recently told Maryland lawmakers during an appeal for more state funding that it lost millions of dollars in 2008 and 2009. But should it try to make up the difference by pursuing more beer sales?" Graham adds, "I understand how the promotions/ticket sales business works, and I enjoy tossing back a few as much as the next guy. But there’s just something about Lord of the InfieldFest and the Sport of Kings that just doesn’t jive to me. One is steeped in tradition -- the other in Budweiser" (BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/1 issue). ESPN's Jackie MacMullan said, "I thought this was like a 'Saturday Night Live' skit or something. I didn't know enough about the Preakness. ... To be honest with you, if I thought about going to the Preakness, I'm never going now" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 4/4).
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