Robert Evans to retire as executive chairman of Churchill Downs Inc.
15 Jul 2015
Evans’ nine-year tenure saw significant growth of CDI as the company invested approximately $1.8 billion in four major growth initiatives:
1. Kentucky Oaks & Kentucky Derby Week
Numerous new events, like Taste of Derby and the Kentucky Oaks’ Pink Out and Survivors Parade, and multiple major construction projects at Churchill Downs Racetrack, including The Mansion and Big Board (at 15,224 square feet, the world’s largest 4-K resolution videoboard), along with new long-term presenting sponsor and television rights agreements, contributed to Oaks & Derby Week growth and helped set all-time attendance, wagering and profitability records in 2015 for both the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.
Installation of permanent lights at Churchill Downs Racetrack ushered in Oaks & Derby Week’s Opening Night event and the ongoing Downs After Dark night racing events that have now been attended by over 750,000 fans.
2. Advance Deposit Wagering (ADW)
The acquisition of AmericaTAB and Bloodstock Research Information Services in Lexington, Ky., and of Youbet.com Inc. in Woodland Hills, Calif., were key developments in CDI’s entry into the ADW business with 2007’s launch of TwinSpires, now a leading ADW provider in the U.S.
3. Casino Gaming
Starting in 2008, CDI has built or entered into agreements to acquire all or part of eight regional casinos in seven states.
4. Mobile & Online Casual Games
In 2014, CDI acquired Big Fish Games, Inc., located in Seattle, Wash., and Oakland, Calif. Big Fish is one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of mobile and online casual games and represents a new growth opportunity for CDI.
During Evans’ tenure CDI’s net revenues nearly tripled and profits, measured by adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), grew more than 400 percent. More than $1.7 billion in shareholder value was created as the price of the company’s common stock increased from under $40 to over $125 per share. In 2014, CDI was named to Forbes magazine’s list of the 100 Best Small Companies in America.
Evans commented, “While I am extremely proud of what the CDI teams at all of our locations have accomplished, I’m even more excited about what they can achieve in the future. CDI is today a far more diversified company with much greater organic growth potential, with strong free cash flow and a conservative amount of debt. Most importantly, the CDI organization is stronger, with much broader and deeper capabilities, notably in the use of technology. These are the key ingredients for future success and I trust CDI’s best years will be the years ahead.”