Churchill Downs in Sports Illustrated partnership deal

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Churchill Downs Racetrack and Sports Illustrated have agreed a multi-year partnership for exclusive naming rights of new luxury dining experience, Club SI.

The club, which was originally planned with the name 1895 Club and part of the $200m renovated Paddock Project, is scheduled to open at the start of the Kentucky Derby in May 2024 and is set to offer guests a premium race day experience.

Iconic magazine covers of Sports Illustrated will be showcased as part of the club’s interior design. During the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks each year, celebrity ambassadors will act as hosts to boost the experience for visitors.

“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.”

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Michael Sherman, SVP media brands at Authentic Brands Group, owner of the Sports Illustrated brand, added: “It is an honour 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. 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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