Home Business Breeders’ cup generated $80M for Lexington economy

Breeders’ cup generated $80M for Lexington economy

The 2022 Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Keeneland generated a total estimated economic impact of more than $81.8 million in Lexington and the surrounding areas, according to results released March 17 from a study by the University of Louisville.

The study done by economics professor Dr. Thomas E. Lambert showed the 2022 World Championships produced the second-highest economic impact recorded in Breeders’ Cup history, following the record set in 2017 at Del Mar. The 2022 event’s economic punch was 25.8% higher than the 2015 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland, which had an economic impact estimated at $65 million.

On top of these strong economic indicators, the 2022 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, held last Nov. 4-5, generated record global wagering of $189.1 million, the highest in Breeders’ Cup history, 3.4% higher than the prior record of $182.9 million set in 2021. Records were also set for individual day wagering totals with Future Stars Friday registering $66.1 million and the Saturday program amassing $122.9 million.

“When the Breeders’ Cup comes to town, Lexington has the opportunity to step into the international spotlight and demonstrate why we are known as the Horse Capital of the World. Clearly, we’re home to the best track in the world, Keeneland, and to the best Thoroughbreds,” Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton said. “However, the Breeders’ Cup is about much more than bragging rights. The event has a significant economic impact that helps our hotels, our restaurants, and our entire community.”

“We are proud of the positive economic impact the 2022 World Championships had on the Lexington community, our hometown,” said Drew Fleming, president and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup. “After enduring a global pandemic, we held true to our word and returned to Keeneland just two years after the 2020 edition with an understanding of the needed boost the World Championships would give local businesses. Keeneland and Lexington are intimately connected to the history of our great sport, and it was wonderful to work with our highly engaged community to host an event that benefited everyone involved.”

For the success of the last year’s Breeders’ Cup, Fleming specifically recognized Keeneland president and CEO Shannon Arvin, Festival chairman Kip Cornett, the VisitLEX Tourism Board, and Gorton.

“The results of this study show with certainty that Lexington fully embraces the Breeders’ Cup,” Arvin said. “Breeders’ Cup and Keeneland share a mission to conduct racing at the highest levels of quality, safety, and integrity, and to contribute to our community. It was a pleasure to work again with Drew Fleming and the team at Breeders’ Cup, and we thank them, our industry partners, and Central Kentucky business and civic leaders who teamed with us to provide a warm welcome and outstanding hospitality to fans and racing connections from around the world.”

“Breeders’ Cup 2022 was an outstanding weekend of racing, hospitality, and economic impact,” said Mary Quinn Ramer, president of VisitLEX. “We know there is no better place around the globe for championship racing than here in Lexington, the Horse Capital of the World, and we applaud Breeders’ Cup’s decision to bring the 2022 event to our city.”

Central Kentucky businesses surveyed said they saw benefits of Breeders’ Cup long after the event had passed, with 41% saying they strongly agreed or agreed that the customers attracted during Breeders’ Cup week became repeat customers later.

This article appears on page 6 of the April 2023 issue of Ace. To subscribe, click here.