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Churchill Downs Racetrack and Sports Illustrated agree to naming rights deal

9 Jan 2024

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Churchill Downs Incorporated announced today a multi-year partnership between Churchill Downs Racetrack and Sports Illustrated for exclusive naming rights of a new luxury dining experience, Club SI, ahead of the historic 150th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, 4 May 2024. Originally planned as the 1895 Club, Club SI is scheduled to debut on Opening Night of Derby Week and offer guests a modern, sophisticated race day experience.

Club SI will debut as part of the $200 million renovated Paddock Project at Churchill Downs for the upcoming 150th Kentucky Derby and offer a new luxury equine-focused dining experience with an immersive view of the all-new Paddock and Paddock Runway giving guests unparalleled behind-the-scenes experiences. The interior design of Club SI will showcase iconic Sports Illustrated magazine covers, editorial featuring past Kentucky Derby races, and a sneak peek into Sports Illustrated’s new SI Resorts vertical. Each year, celebrity ambassadors will act as hosts for Club SI during the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks for a premium race day experience. With a guest list that includes titans of the sports industry and appointed with iconic Sports Illustrated editorial artwork, Club SI will offer an elevated, exciting and more unique Derby weekend than ever available before.

The club will be open on premium race days and include dining tables to accommodate parties of two, four, six or eight guests who will enjoy gourmet dishes from the curated Chef’s Table Buffet, designated wagering windows, private bars and outdoor trackside viewing for live races. Steps from the club, guests will be treated to the SI Enclosure which will deliver a front-row experience of the Paddock with covered outdoor dining tables to accommodate parties of four.

“As we approach the 150th Kentucky Derby, we are thrilled to partner with a brand as iconic as Sports Illustrated to offer guests an enhanced way to enjoy this incredible anniversary event,” said Mike Anderson, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “Sports Illustrated shares our goal of combining exciting sports moments with upscale entertainment, and Club SI will provide the perfect space to achieve this.”

“It is an honor to bring Club SI to Churchill Downs Racetrack, which has such a rich history that we’ve showcased through the pages of Sports Illustrated for decades,” said Michael Sherman, SVP Media Brands at Authentic Brands Group, owner of the Sports Illustrated brand. “Club SI will celebrate iconic elements of the brand, while hosting celebrity talent and offering guests gourmet cuisine and cocktails, a unique vantage point of the new Paddock, and a once-in-a-lifetime horse racing experience for Derby 150.”
 
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