Press Release

2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships Brings $96.8 Million to San Diego Economy

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 1, 2018) – The Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which debuted at Del Mar racetrack in 2017, generated $96.8 million in direct and indirect economic benefits for San Diego County, determined by a recent economic impact study by Sports Management Research Institute (SMRI). The results are the highest recorded for any prior Breeders’ Cup event and further emphasize Breeders’ Cup as a major economic force with the power to stimulate the Del Mar and San Diego economies through tourism, local investments and activities.

The economic benefits of the Breeders’ Cup quantified in this study include:

• $57.8 million in visitor spending, including accommodations, restaurants, transportation, and more
• $27.2 million in track improvement investments for Del Mar racetrack, including both labor and material costs
• $1.3 million in staff and sponsor spending, exposing international corporations to local businesses
• $5.3 million secured in state and local tax revenues and $8.9 million secured in federal tax revenues

This positive economic impact is equivalent to the creation of an additional 736 full-time jobs in San Diego County. In addition, the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships saw a 21.4% increase in on-track wagering from 2016, with the two-day on-track handle total amounting to $25.2 million.

The Breeders’ Cup is one of the world’s most prestigious Thoroughbred horse racing events, regularly attracting a highly affluent and international audience. The study revealed that the 2017 event contributed to a more favorable impression of San Diego for 71% of attendees while 73% expressed interest in returning to the city the following year.

“We are extremely proud of the strong and positive impact of the Breeders’ Cup on the San Diego region particularly given that 2017 was Del Mar’s first year hosting the Breeders’ Cup World Championships,” said Craig Fravel, President & CEO of the Breeders’ Cup. “This study further validates the power of our brand as a national and international event and the attractiveness of the San Diego and Del Mar communities for our guests. We look forward to future opportunities to collaborate with the many fantastic partners we worked with in 2017 in any effort to bring the Breeders’ Cup back to Del Mar.”

“We have wonderful partnerships with local restaurants, hotels and the surrounding communities,” said Del Mar Thoroughbred Club CEO Joe Harper. “It is very gratifying to see the economic impact from hosting the Breeders’ Cup benefit those who have supported horse racing at Del Mar for so many years.”

“San Diego once again proved itself to be one of the most desirable destinations for world-class events when our region hosted the Breeders’ Cup for the first time,” Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer said. “This new study shows the tremendous boost the Breeders’ Cup gave our local economy and how hosting events like this create jobs and generate revenue that helps keep our neighborhoods clean and safe.”

“Hosting the 2017 Breeders’ Cup was a tremendous benefit to San Diego’s tourism industry,” said Joe Terzi, President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. “Not only was there a strong economic impact from visitor spending, but hosting an event of such prestige also showed that San Diego is a world-class destination. We look forward to welcoming the Breeders’ Cup back to San Diego again soon.”

“A Breeders’ Cup attendee average household income (HHI) reported at $225K (top 5% nationally in HHI) continues to add support to the notion that a Breeders’ Cup out-of-town visitor has a larger percentage of discretionary income to spend when compared to a typical regional tourism out-of-town visitors,” said Kathleen Davis, CEO of SMRI. “It’s also important to realize the enhanced prestige and popularity of the Breeders’ Cup brand ranks among other large scale national events such as the Super Bowl and All Star Games.” The 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will return to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky for a record-tying ninth time on November 2 and 3. Fans interested in attending the event are encouraged to sign up at to receive the latest news on pre-sale ticket access and detailed ticketing information.

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, You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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