Breeders’ Cup and Univ. of Louisville Team Up

LEXINGTON, Ky. (October, 2018) – Breeders’ Cup, one of Thoroughbred horse racing’s most prestigious international events, and University of Louisville are collaborating on a new communications course, COMM 510, which is being offered as part of the university’s Fall 2018 curriculum. Designed to provide students with practical experience and industry-level knowledge of the social media and public relations fields, the course tasks 16 undergraduate and graduate students with marketing the upcoming 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, taking place in Louisville, Kentucky on November 2 and 3.

“We are excited to collaborate with the University of Louisville to provide this unique opportunity for students looking to build their practical knowledge and experience in the competitive field of communications,” said Bryan Pettigrew, Chief Marketing Officer of Breeders’ Cup. “Every year we seek out interesting ways to collaborate with the local community, and together with our social media agency, Grand Slam Social, we are particularly excited to engage with local students. We look forward to seeing what they come up with to help promote this world-class event.”

During the semester, students have studied and analyzed literature related to strategic planning, influencer marketing, public relations and social media management and communication, among additional topics. Students have been divided into two teams to develop a strategic approach for covering both the Breeders’ Cup Festival and the World Championships on November 2-3. Students have been engaging in a myriad of roles including creative ideation, social listening, content creation, run of show development, influencer management, social media publishing, event attendance and data analysis.

Early this month, students will be presenting their recommendations for social media coverage and will play a key role in implementing their strategy both onsite at Churchill Downs, and remotely. By the end of the course, students will present a final report demonstrating how successfully goals were reached and providing key takeaways for future Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

“We, the students of #FrebergPR, are thrilled to be working with the Breeders’ Cup World Championships this semester,” said Candice Champlin and Megan McLeroy, group leaders of the Fall 2018 course. “This opportunity goes above and beyond the normal scope of classroom learning, providing us with invaluable real-time skills and experience. We cannot thank Breeders’ Cup and Dr. Freberg enough for allowing us this incredible opportunity. Our hands and minds are already fast at work, and we hope to make you all proud!”

“As a working professional in communications and a student in University of Louisville’s Master’s in Communications program, it’s exciting to take part in a project that goes far beyond the classroom. Partnerships like these are real-world examples of the power of public relations and media and the importance of curated content on a global scale,” said Berry Franklin IV, class team leader. “Our class is looking forward to helping the Breeders’ Cup make the races this November a success.”

The graduate-level course is being offered through the Department of Communication in the College of Arts & Sciences and is led by Karen Freberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Strategic Communications. An industry expert, Freberg has more than five years of experience teaching social media and strategic communications courses at University of Louisville. Portions of this year’s class are based on a textbook she authored titled Social media for strategic communication: Creative strategies and researched based applications. Past students of the course have subsequently secured internships and full-time roles at organizations such as Team USA, General Motors, Cision, Kentucky Derby, YUM! Brands, Adidas and Twitter.

“To have the opportunity to work with Breeders’ Cup is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to help bridge the gap between education and the industry. Our students are expected to have hands on experience and applied skills as they graduate and enter the workplace, and in a span of four months, our students here at the University of Louisville will be able to work on one of the biggest global horse racing events in the industry,” said Dr. Karen Freberg. “The city of Louisville is known for horse racing, and it is exciting for students to have the chance of not just learning about the key aspects of social media strategy and PR, but to actually implement these ideas through creative executions. I am very grateful to have this partnership between our class at the University of Louisville and The Breeders’ Cup.”

About Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 races (13 Grade 1 events) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held November 2-3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

About University of Louisville

Founded in 1798, the University of Louisville is a state-supported research university located in Kentucky’s largest metropolitan area. The university serves more than 22,000 students each year through undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in 12 colleges and schools. The university has been recognized and honored for efforts in research, community engagement initiatives and commitment to diversity. UofL is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference for both academics and athletics. For more information, visit louisville.edu.

Press Release

Is Horse Racing Dead? Gulfstream Park Reported Strong 2016

Gulfstream Park paddock Gulfstream Park announced a record $1.774 billion was wagered via Gulfstream Park in 2016, a 9-percent increase over the previous record of $1.625 billion in 2015.

Gulfstream also announced a record $1.508 billion was wagered on its live races in 2016, a 13-percent increase from the previous record of $1.338 billion in 2015.

Gulfstream’s record handle was produced in part by signature racing events like the Florida Derby, Fountain of Youth, Opening Day Claiming Crown, Sire Stakes, Sunshine Millions and Holy Bull. Gulfstream also continued hosting signature events, including the prestigious Eclipse Awards.

“Our record handle in 2016 shows us we’re on the right path in growing our Championship Meet and reinvigorating summer racing in Florida,” said P.J. Campo, General Manager of Gulfstream Park and Vice President of Racing for The Stronach Group, Gulfstream’s parent company. “We continue to see the top horses and stables race each winter at Gulfstream, but we’re also witnessing more interest in our summer program now that it has become established and producing quality racing and young stars.

“We believe we will continue to grow in 2017. We have an incredible year ahead of us. We’re looking forward to once again hosting the Eclipse Awards on Jan. 21, watching classic contenders begin to develop in the Holy Bull, Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, and playing host to the richest horse race in the world – the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational – featuring California Chrome and Arrogate on Jan. 28.

“Our success is only possible because of our great equine athletes, jockeys, horsemen supporting our program from throughout the world, and the fans, who continue to offer great suggestions to help us grow our customer service.

Racetrack Management: Take Care of Your Fans

Who is your team?

Excerpt: “While pondering this, I couldn’t help but think of the difficulty horse racing has faced while trying to maintain and expand its fan base. As an industry, horse racing has been aware for some time that in order to survive it must do this, but that is far easier said than done.

The tricky thing with horse racing is there are no teams to cheer for. Loyalty to a runner rarely can last more than a few years, simply because said horse will be retired. People have favorite trainers and jockeys, but the star of the game has always been the horse.

It’s not like an NFL team that a family will follow for generations, through thick and thin. For instance, my family’s team is the Denver Broncos. While John Elway will always be beloved, our loyalty to the Broncos did not change when he retired. I guarantee that some of the fans Zenyatta picked up along the way retired from racing when she did.

Another unique aspect of the game is the gambling. Getting people in the door simply isn’t enough. The success of a race meet is not only judged by attendance but by handle.

For instance, Lone Star Park ended its spring thoroughbred meeting with a 10 percent increase in average daily attendance, which was the largest average daily attendance increase in the track’s history. But, overall handle was down and that had to be addressed. While pondering this, I couldn’t help but think of the difficulty horse racing has faced while trying to maintain and expand its fan base. As an industry, horse racing has been aware for some time that in order to survive it must do this, but that is far easier said than done.”

 

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