Breeders’ Cup triples its efforts to land new sponsors
The Breeders’ Cup is now using three outside agencies — Great Reputations, W Partners and Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment — to sell sponsorships for its annual two-day championship event and qualifying challenge series.
The Breeders’ Cup’s main assets are its World Championships, which will be held this November at Churchill Downs, and its 85-race “Win and You’re In” series, which is held June through October.
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Since the qualifying series now includes 35 races outside of North America, it made sense to engage agencies with deep relationships with global brands in different sponsorship categories, said Bryan Pettigrew, Breeders’ Cup senior vice president.
The Breeders’ Cup is looking for international partners wanting to grow their brand in the U.S., as well as American companies looking to expose their brands globally, he said.
“We realize that our sport is sometimes a niche sport,” Pettigrew said. “We’ve limited it to three, select sponsorship agencies with them focusing on specific categories. If one of the agencies hasn’t had any movement on a specific category or brand after 60 days, we will open it up to the other two agencies.”
This year, the Breeders’ Cup is focusing on insurance, travel, domestic automobile and truck, and financial services including banking. Pettigrew said the Supreme Court decision this year allowing sports wagering could be a boon for horse racing.
“On banking, we think because of the sports wagering, we think that will be an important category down the road in processing bets,” Pettigrew said.
Wally Hayward, CEO of Chicago-based W Partners, agreed that the new legal landscape is good for the sport, noting that the gaming aspect of horse racing has been a hurdle for some potential sponsors in the past. “It’s going to help racing because it takes that excuse of why clients would typically stay away, because every sport now you are going to gamble on legally.”
Great Reputations is based in San Diego, while W Partners is headquartered in Chicago and Van Wagner in New York.