Churchill Downs Named One of the 2024 ‘Best Venues’ by Front Office Sports

LOUISVILLE, KY., (May 22, 2024) – Churchill Downs Racetrack, home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby, has been named one of the “Best Venues” by Front Office Sports.

Churchill Downs recently staged a wildly-successful 150th renewal of the Kentucky Derby before a crowd of 156,710, and wagering was an all-time high on the Kentucky Derby race ($210.7 million), Kentucky Derby Day program ($320.5 million) and Kentucky Derby Week races ($446.6 million). Additionally, this year’s “Run for the Roses” delivered 16.7 million viewers on NBC and Peacock – the largest Kentucky Derby audience since 1989 – and viewership peaked at a record 20.1 million between 7-7:15 p.m. ET as Mystik Dan defeated Sierra Leone and Japan’s Forever Young in the closest three-horse finish in the history of the race.

Sports Innovation Lab analysts and venue experts identified key initiatives and activities that align with the evolving demands of the modern sports fan to determine the Front Office Sports’ “Best Venues” award. They included:

  • Novel technologies that improve and enhance the gameday experience;
  • New approaches to simplifying and speeding up the merchandise and concessions process;
  • Exciting and engaging menu items;
  • Efficient ingress, egress, and wayfinding; 
  • Facilitated transportation;
  • Easy access to wireless connectivity;
  • Physical and Cybersecurity;
  • Mixed-use development opportunities; and 
  • Venue design features.

Churchill Downs debuted a transformational new $200 million Paddock with two new luxury reserved seating areas at this year’s Kentucky Derby: the Woodford Reserve Paddock Club and Sports Illustrated’s Club SI. These luxury reserved seating areas offer customers an opportunity to view horses as they are saddled in the paddock and experience the thrill of the races from the rail of the racetrack.            

“We’re thrilled to be named one of Front Office Sports’ ‘Best Venues,’” said Mike Anderson, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “As we celebrate 150 years of our storied past, we remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver innovating new experiences for Kentucky Derby fans and superior customer service to guests throughout the year.”

About Churchill Downs Racetrack

Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”), the world’s most legendary racetrack, has been the home of The Kentucky Derby, the longest continually held annual sporting event in the United States, since 1875. Located in Louisville, CDRT features a series of themed race days during Derby Week, including the Kentucky Oaks, and conducts Thoroughbred horse racing during three race meets in the Spring, September, and the Fall. CDRT is located on 175 acres and has a one-mile dirt track, a 7/8-mile turf track, a stabling area, and provides seating for approximately 60,000 guests. The stable area has barns sufficient to accommodate 1,400 horses and a 114-room dormitory for backstretch personnel. CDRT also has a year-round simulcast wagering facility and Race and Sports Book.