SBJ/Aug. 19-25, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Breeders’ Cup brings Front Row aboard to sell

The Breeders’ Cup has hired Front Row Marketing Services to sell sponsorship inventory for horse racing’s annual championship event.

Both Front Row Marketing Services President Chris Lencheski and Breeders’ Cup CMO Drew Sheinman said they expected to announce new corporate partnerships before this year’s event at Santa Anita Park in the Los Angeles area on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2. But neither Lencheski nor Sheinman would reveal details of any upcoming deals.

Sponsors have been receptive, Lencheski says.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
The Breeders’ Cup has seen a number of sponsorships, including deals with Grey Goose and Emirates, expire in recent years. The event has several endemic partners, including ExpressBet, the Daily Racing Form and a number of thoroughbred horse breeding farms, but its only nonendemic sponsors now are John Deere, Lalique and Mont Blanc. Lencheski said that the event has a virtual “clean plate” to sign new partners.

Front Row Marketing Services was hired a few weeks ago, and Lencheski said he has been in discussions since then with principals of large corporations, both international and domestic.

“We’ve had a very good reception from big companies I have worked with before,” he said. “The reception has been very positive and I would expect to announce something before the races.”

Categories that are open for sponsorship deals include airlines, automotive, banking and spirits.

The Breeders’ Cup hired Front Row after meeting with several agencies, Sheinman said. Front Row is a subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor, and Sheinman said the company’s connection to Comcast-owned NBC, the broadcast partner of the Breeders’ Cup, was a large part of why they were retained. Sales were handled previously in-house, but Sheinman said the changes are part of a larger plan to expand the Breeders’ Cup from a two-day event to weeklong global festival.

“They have the unique ability to tap into all the Comcast resources available,” Sheinman said.

Another attraction is the presence of Lencheski, who has experience working with the America’s Cup and Formula One Racing, Sheinman said. Those events are similar to the Breeders’ Cup in that they all attract a global and affluent audience.

Lencheski and Front Row will work in collaboration with Sheinman and the Breeders’ Cup to sell the inventory.

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