Kentucky Derby Signs First Sponsor - Thursday 2nd of February 2006
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky Churchill Downs racetrack today announced that Yum! Brands Inc., the world's largest restaurant company and parent of KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's and A&W Restaurants will become the historic first-ever presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs is the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated.
This year's 132nd renewal of America's greatest horse race on Saturday, May 6, will be referred to as "the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands." The Kentucky Derby, which holds the distinction of being America's oldest continuously held sporting event, has been run without interruption at Churchill Downs since the track's first race meet in 1875. The race for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds offers a $2 million-guaranteed purse.
The Kentucky Derby sponsorship agreement between Churchill Downs and Yum! Brands is a five-year partnership that matches two Louisville, Ky.-based companies with reputations and business operations that are international in scope. Under the agreement, Yum! Brands - which has nearly 34,000 restaurants in more than 100 countries and territories - becomes the first Churchill Downs corporate partner to become a named sponsor of the classic race that is an American sports icon. Yum! Brands has been a corporate partner with Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for several years, but the new agreement represents a decision by Yum! Brands to significantly upgrade its sponsorship commitment.
"For several years we have contemplated a major sponsorship for the Kentucky Derby but decided we would only pursue an agreement if it was with the right partner, and we have an excellent partner in Yum! Brands," said Thomas H. Meeker, president and chief executive officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated. "As an outstanding corporate citizen in our hometown, Yum! Brands understands the importance of the Derby's history and tradition to the residents of our city and region, as well as to racing fans around the world. Our partnership will allow Churchill Downs and Yum! Brands to work together to assure a strong future for a great American sports event. We look forward to working with this special corporate partner to take the world famous Kentucky Derby to unprecedented heights."
"Yum! Brands is proud to be the first-ever presenting sponsor of the Kentucky Derby. Our winning combination of leading global restaurant brands, proven track record of results and our new Kentucky Derby sponsorship make this the ultimate trifecta," said David Novak, chairman and chief executive officer of Yum! Brands Inc.
"Millions of people watch 'the most exciting two minutes of sports' so this is a highly targeted and cost efficient way for us to create awareness and interest in Yum! around the globe," Novak said. "Through this sponsorship, potential investors will know of Yum! Brands and begin to associate the company with our leading restaurant brands."
Yum! Brands is a relatively young company that was formed in 1997 when KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell were spun-off from PepsiCo. While the company's KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell brands are leaders in their categories and very well known around the world, most people do not know that they are part of Yum! Brands.
Institutional investors own about 80-percent of the company's stock, and individual investors own 20-percent of the stock. Yum! Brands wants to increase the number of individual investors because they create a stable base and tend to hold onto the stock longer.
Until now, the company has created awareness of Yum! for individual investors mostly through public relations initiatives, including the "Customer Mania" book by Ken Blanchard, but has not invested in sponsorships or corporate advertising. Traditional Derby television viewers range in age from 25-54 years old with annual household incomes of $100,000 or more, matching the profile of potential individual investors.
On Derby Day, the Yum! Brands logo will appear beneath the Twin Spires on a Kentucky Derby sign that shows the time span the race has been run (1875 to 2006), on the sign above the starting gate for the Derby race, on the jackets of the pony riders who escort the Derby horses and jockeys during the post parade, on television billboards before and throughout the broadcast as well as in various places around the racetrack facility. In addition, Yum! Brands will receive six, 30-second television ads on NBC's Derby broadcast along with two, 30-second television commercials on ESPN and ESPN2 during their event coverage.
As the exclusive quick-service restaurant (QSR) partner, Yum! will also air television commercials before and during the broadcast.
The presenting sponsorship for the Kentucky Derby will not impact the purse of the race, which was doubled last year to $2 million guaranteed. But owners and trainers who race their horses at Churchill Downs during the track's Spring and Fall racing meets will benefit as a portion of the sponsorship's revenues will go to race purses through a formula negotiated in the most recent agreement between the track and its horsemen.
The 2006 Kentucky Derby will follow one of the most successful renewals in the long history of the race. An on-track crowd of 156,435 - the second largest in the history of the race - and a worldwide television audience looked on as long shot Giacomo scored an upset victory in the Derby on May 7, 2005. Total wagering on the 2005 Derby reached $103,325,518, which marked the first time that betting on a single North America race had topped $100 million.
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