Financial Impact Imminent for Churchill Downs as Kentucky Derby Will Run Without Fans

Financial Impact Imminent for Churchill Downs as Kentucky Derby Will Run Without Fans

The Kentucky Derby, a prominent horse racing event in the US, hasn’t given up on its plans for a 2020 season because of the pandemic. However, the derby would be conducted without fans for the first time in 146 years.

A change in schedule

When the coronavirus first arrived in the US and caused widespread lockdowns, the track in Louisville announced that it would be moving the date of the race to September 5. Traditionally, the race is organized on the first Saturday of May. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear gave the greenlight to hold the races earlier this month, but only with a limited attendance of about 23,000. This is the only 1.7th of the record attendance of 170,513 that arrived for the race in 2015.

Financial Impact Imminent for Churchill Downs as Kentucky Derby Will Run Without Fans

After the announcement was made, the number of COVID-19 cases in Louisville continued to increase. The positivity rate, according to Norton Healthcare, jumped from 2% in June to 10% this week. The CDC earlier this week tagged Louisville as a Red Zone. Track president Kevin Flanery said on Friday that because of this, “we just felt that we could not responsibly bring in 23,000 fans to the facility for the Derby.”

Leaders hail the decision

The local and state leaders have hailed the decision of the track. The Indianapolis 500 also made a similar decision on Sunday. A rising rate of infection led the officials to keep the audience away from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Churchill Downs is planning to run live racing during the Derby Week starting September 1. The top race for 3-year-old-fillies, the Kentucky Oaks will take place on September 4.

It is important to sustain the bottom line of the Churchill Downs track since the week comes with several high-profile races. It also features some of the largest crowds during the year. The track has about 60,000 premium reserve seats that help bring the largest share of the revenue for the track during the Derby Week. Last year, the track’s EBITDA during the week was $5.4 million. This makes up more than 1% of the total company EBITDA of $451.4 million.

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About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.

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