SBJ/November 17 - 23, 2003/This Weeks Issue

Churchill Downs sells out its 64 new luxury boxes

Churchill Downs has sold out all of its 64 new luxury boxes, pulling in more than $5.5 million in revenue from corporations, groups and individuals willing to pay for a good seat for the track's premier event, the Kentucky Derby.

The suites have sold at an average annual price of $87,000, and the average box holds 24 seats, said Tyrone Tubbs, senior vice president of sales for Churchill Downs Inc., which owns the Louisville, Ky., track. That $87,000 price tag is just for the weekend of the Derby, which is held the first Saturday in May, he said.

Suite leases for the rest of the year, excluding Derby weekend, sell for $10,000 each, he said.

The new suites are part of Churchill's $121 million renovation of the historic facility, which is scheduled to be completed in 2005. Churchill will have an additional 15 suites to lease before the 2005 Derby, Tubbs said.

"We have an extensive waiting list," he said. "We have a good 25 to 30 folks who have expressed an interest."

About half the 64 luxury boxes have been leased by corporations. A quarter of the suites were leased by individuals and the remaining quarter were leased by horse racing industry groups.

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