When the Breeders' Cup arrives at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on Oct. 24-25, it will bring the largest prize purse for any sporting event in the world: $25.5 million awarded over two days of racing.

For the first time in the event's 25-year history, corporate box holders and their guests will be able to watch the action from the inside rail. That new feature comes as part of the Breeders' Cup Champions Village, a high-end corporate hospitality program. Corporate chalets will be put up on the infield of the track for prime tickets holders, who will have access to food, drinks, private betting tellers and plasma televisions during the festivities.

"We are borrowing a page from golf, where corporate tents are set up in prime viewing positions," said Peter Land, chief marketing officer.

The races will feature prized thoroughbreds owned by Middle Eastern sheikhs and other millionaires.

The chalets also increase the capacity of the track, which normally seats only 22,000. The tent-type structures provide companies with an opportunity to buy blocks of seats, as there are few areas available in the grandstand for large groups.

The atmosphere will be much different than any other race held at the track, even prior Breeders' Cup events.

"Other races have used the infield as a place for people to go and eat, but this is an innovative way to create a high-end atmosphere," said Sherwood Chillingworth, vice president Oak Tree Racing Association, which puts on other races at Santa Anita.

While grandstand seats sell for as little as $20, prime seats will cost about $1,000 per person. Wolfgang Puck is catering the corporate hospitality portion of the event and Grey Goose is one of the sponsors providing spirits. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on both days.

There will be a total of 16 chalets built in the infield ranging in capacity from 25 to 100. That includes one each for the Breeders' Cup two charity partners, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

After subtracting costs of construction, food and beverages over the two days of races, however, the Breeders' Cup expects to break even on the ticket price.

"From a ticket revenue standpoint and food its breakeven proposition in year one," said Land, a former National Basketball Association executive who is relatively new to the Breeders' Cup.

The added value is expected to come from wagering by bettors who will spend up to six hours per day at the track. There will be private tellers available at the chalets to make wagering more convenient than standing in line in the grandstand.

The race will be back at Santa Anita in 2009.



Dodger's Delight

While Los Angeles Dodgers fans are getting all they could ask for on the field during the 2008 season, more fans got all they wanted in the right field AMPM All-You-Can-Eat Pavilion.

The team converted the 3,000-seat pavilion to an all-you-can-eat section two years ago. In the 2007 season, about 2,200 seats were sold at each of the team's 81 home games. That number held steady this season, even as overall attendance dropped 2 percent.

General admission tickets to the section cost $35, but there are some discounts available through promotions. Hot dogs, pretzels, peanuts and soft drinks not alcohol are included in the ticket price.

Meanwhile, making the playoffs helped the organization generate an added $360,000 in merchandise sales during the one division series game against the Chicago Cubs. Approximately one-third of that merchandise was branded with the division series. Fans spent approximately $6 per capita for the sold-out division series game, double the regular season merchandise sales.

Honor Roll

Anita DeFrantz, president of the LA84 Foundation and board member of the International Olympic Committee, will be inducted into the International World Forum's Hall of Fame on Oct. 17.

The foundation was created with the profits from the 1984 Olympics and provides funds for Los Angeles youth sports. DeFrantz was a bronze medalist in the 1976 Olympics.

The organization honors women who are involved in leadership positions in politics, business and sports. DeFrantz will be honored along with Kim Campbell, former prime minister of Canada, and Madam Gu Xiulian, former vice chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China.

Previous inductees include Margaret Thatcher, Rosa Parks, Sandra Day O'Connor, Madeleine Albright and Maya Angelou.


Staff reporter David Nusbaum can be reached at dnusbaum@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 236.


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