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Contact: Chip Tuttle (917) 602-2148
NTRA AND BREEDERS' CUP ANNOUNCE WORLD THOROUGHBRED CHAMPIONSHIPS
Bessemer Trust to Sponsor; Additional Marketing Programs Unveiled
The National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders' Cup Limited today announced the launch of a new brand-the World Thoroughbred Championships-to improve public awareness of the Breeders' Cup, Thoroughbred racing's eight-race, $13 million Championship day, and to showcase the most important races in the new "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships."
The NTRA, which began joint operations with the Breeders' Cup effective January 1 of this year, announced a new major sponsor, Bessemer Trust Company, and other related marketing initiatives, including:
"When the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships are held October 27 at Belmont Park, it will represent the single best day of Thoroughbred racing anywhere in the world for the year," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith. "We believe the steps being announced today will help communicate that positioning more powerfully, while helping fans follow more easily the top races and divisional competition that lead up to the Breeders' Cup each year."
Bessemer Trust Company was introduced as the title sponsor of the $1 million Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Bessemer Trust also was named title sponsor of the Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge, a series of juvenile colt races on CNBC that is part of the "Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships."
"We welcome Bessemer Trust to the World Thoroughbred Championships," said Breeders' Cup President and NTRA Vice Chairman D.G. Van Clief Jr. "This is one of the world's most prestigious brands and its association with our premier event adds special significance."
Representatives from Bessemer Trust were in attendance at the announcement at Manhattan's "21."
Host Communications, the NTRA's sponsorship sales agency, has been selected to market the new, integrated NTRA/Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships sponsorship and media packages.
"We are in advanced discussions with a number of other companies to sponsor the remaining racing and Breeders' Cup divisions," said Host Communications Chairman and CEO Jim Host. "The potential combined value of the NTRA, Breeders' Cup and the 'Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships' represents the best new sponsorship opportunity in sports. Whether it's the significant recent ratings increases for major races, the best-seller Seabiscuit or the marketing work of the NTRA, horseracing is experiencing a resurgence that provides tremendous marketing opportunities for corporations here and globally."
In related news, NBC announced that this year it will add an additional hour of Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships coverage to its schedule. The network confirmed that it will expand its Breeders' Cup telecast from 4½ hours to 5 (1:00 p.m. ET, October 27) and also announced that "Breeders' Cup Preview Day" will be expanded from 90 minutes to two hours and will air at 4:00 p.m. ET from Belmont Park on September 15.
"We're encouraged by a whole range of things occurring in horseracing today that are stimulating a revival in this great sport," said Ken Schanzer, president of NBC Sports. "This effort to re-brand the Breeders' Cup into the World Thoroughbred Championships is just one of the significant initiatives that will help increase the awareness of this terrific property. We look forward to working closely with the NTRA in executing this branding project."
Jim Kelly, the voice of the America's Cup and ESPN golf, was named anchor and spokesman of the newly titled "NTRA Road to the World Thoroughbred Championships" on ESPN and ESPN2. Kelly outlined the network's coverage plans for World Thoroughbred Championships races and a supporting advertising campaign featuring ESPN's Kenny Mayne (see separate release).
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing awareness of Thoroughbred racing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA also conducts the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, racing's year-end Championship consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, and the Breeders' Cup National Stakes Program, which are funded by the industry's owners and breeders. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. A compendium of NTRA press releases appears on the NTRA Web site, ntra.com, and at the Web site for the Breeders' Cup Championship, breederscup.com. Contact the NTRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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