SBJ/20080623/Facilities

Breeders’ Cup hopes new corporate chalets are an infield hit

The Breeders’ Cup World Championships has hired the same firm that sells corporate hospitality packages for the Super Bowl and Kentucky Derby to market its first infield hospitality offering.

QuintEvents, official provider for the NFL’s On Location corporate program the past four Super Bowls, is selling 26 infield chalets called Champions Village for this year’s Breeders’ Cup races. They’ll take place Oct. 24-25 at Santa Anita Park near Los Angeles.

The chalets are priced at $30,000 to $150,000. Most will accommodate 40 to 60 patrons, but LeadDog Marketing, the firm constructing them to specifications, can produce larger tents if needed, said Peter Land, chief marketing officer for the Breeders’ Cup.

“We have had a couple of calls about building 100-person chalets,” Land said.

The Champions Village amenities include access to an outdoor lounge, an exclusive view along the rail as close as 150 feet from the finish line, breakfast and lunch, open bar, plasma televisions, private rest rooms, and private tellers to handle bets on the 14 races.

Breeders’ Cup officials decided to launch the Champions Village after signing a two-year contract at Santa Anita, the first time in its 25 years that the event has booked a facility for consecutive years.

QuintEvents, which offered Kentucky
Derby packages, is now selling
chalets for the Breeders’ Cup
races at Santa Anita.

To “jump-start the brand” in Southern California, Land said, the Breeders’ Cup spent “close to seven figures” to create an infield hospitality program, modeled after what the Kentucky Derby has done at Churchill Downs.

“There are only 22,000 permanent seats at Santa Anita, and that’s the other reason we’re building out the infield: to take care of folks that normally might not be able to get a ticket,” Land said. Churchill, another frequent Breeders’ Cup host, has 52,000 fixed seats.

QuintEvents is paid by commission, receiving a fee for each chalet it sells. The firm is also selling VIP packages for premium seats in the grandstand, clubhouse and FrontRunner restaurant, company President Brian Learst said.

Breeders’ Cup corporate partner Grey Goose vodka and ESPN, which is sharing nine hours of coverage with ABC on Friday and Saturday, have each bought one chalet, Land said.

Nine others also have committed, including Little Red Feather and West Point Thoroughbreds, two companies that own horses that may be competing.

CHANGEOVER IN CHARLOTTE: The Charlotte Bobcats should expect to pay at least $2 million to convert the signs at their building after its April name change from Charlotte Bobcats Arena to Time Warner Cable Arena, a consultant working with the club said.

Michael Rowe and Anthony James Partners, the firm where he is a principal, met with the Bobcats last week to determine the how to proceed with the changeover at the three-year-old facility.

Most likely, the club will spend a few million more, changing not only the arena name on interior and exterior signs but also installing some new LED signs with video capabilities and upgrading others.

Additional signs will include those identifying Time Warner’s interactive area showcasing its products and services near the main entrance.

The revamped space will replace the maps of North Carolina and South Carolina adorning the walls above each side of the largest entry into the bowl. Most of the changes should be completed by the time the new NBA season starts in the fall, Bobcats spokesman Michael Thompson said.

Anthony James Partners also helped the San Antonio Spurs rebrand AT&T Center.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com.

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