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Volume 26 No. 59
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Churchill Downs Debuting New Access Control System

The new system will track fan flow into and around the facility, and improve wait times at turnstiles
Photo: Getty Images

Churchill Downs has a new multiyear agreement with Fortress US that sees the customer management outfit implementing and overseeing a new access control system at the track. The system, nearly two years in development, is tied to an enhanced analytics system that will be able to track fan flow into and around the facility. It eventually will power loyalty programs. It also is aimed in part at improving wait times at the turnstiles. “We have a lot of different parts to the venue, whether you’re in the infield, in one of our dining areas, or upstairs in a box, and that all requires different level of access control,” said Churchill Downs VP/Ticketing Strategy Sarah Contardo. “We’re a rather unique business compared to the traditional team sports, and that required new technology to help us manage that.” Fortress Senior VP Britton Stackhouse Miller added, “No one has quite the setup as Churchill Downs. It’s a very complex situation with a lot of different rules in terms of who goes where, and obviously, the very large numbers that come out for the big race days.”

TICKETS UP FOR DERBY: Resurgent fan interest in Saturday's Kentucky Derby has generated strong increases in secondary ticket prices. StubHub said the average Derby ticket price on its marketplace is $661, up 30% from a year ago. StubHub's overall demand is up 91% from '17 and the best for the event in five years. Eventellect, meanwhile, said that many reserved seating areas have increased in price on resale markets by at least 50% compared to March. The Derby field is widely deemed to be among the deepest in many years.