SBD/May 1, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Minding My Business With NTRA Senior VP Bryan Pettigrew

Pettigrew looks to restore horse racing to the prominence it enjoyed in the '70s
National Thoroughbred Racing Association Senior VP BRYAN PETTIGREW stays close to his Kentucky home in the springtime, with the eyes of the horse racing world on Churchill Downs for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. But as head of NTRA Advantage, the Lexington-based organization’s purchasing and sponsorship program, he travels throughout the year across the U.S. and Canada to develop new partnerships. That has been tougher in recent years, as the industry is recovering from a combination of economic woes and management turnover. "We are definitely in rebuilding mode,” Pettigrew said. In a recent interview with THE DAILY, Pettigrew talked about racing’s past and future, the vast array of media options available to the sports viewer, and The Masters’ old-school approach to staging an event.

Most of my work time is spent thinking about…
How to bring horse racing back front and center as a sport and entertainment option. How to get back onto ESPN and updates in the sports sections, and how to make it as popular again as it was at its height.

A job candidate should be…
Someone that is adaptable. There’s so many times, so many people you come across, they just like one little job, and they don’t want to stray from that. That’s probably the thing I look at, is someone that’s adaptable that can do multiple jobs and has good awareness of different sports.

The sports industry needs…
More money and less viewing options. There’s just so many things you can watch now from your iPad to iPhone, satellite to cable, there’s so many devices now you feel like you’re walking around with a TV in your pocket sometimes.

Visiting The Masters…
It’s more than just a bucket list, it’s a must see in person, to just take it all in. How there’s no commercial advertising there, it’s really like sports used to be, 50 or 60 years ago. When you walk up and it says “soft drink” or “diet soft drink,” or “beer” or “light beer” and they’re not promoting it, there’s no labels or anything, you know you’re in a very special and different place.

Best business lunch spot in Lexington…

Malone’s. It’s a sports bar, sushi restaurant and steakhouse all in one. Three different menus and three different seating areas.

Guilty pleasure…
I’m watching more of "The Voice" lately. I used to be a diehard "American Idol" fan, but my kids have starting swaying me to watch "The Voice."
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