Kentucky Derby: The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports Promotion


The Kentucky Derby is known as the most exciting two minutes in sports. The Derby and other high profile horse racing events can form the basis for exciting insured promotions.

A race with a rich history

The Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May and is frequently referred to as the “Run for the Roses” for the blanket of roses given to the winning horse.

The Derby and Churchill Downs, the iconic race track at which it is held, were both the brainchildren of Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark, the grandson of William Clark (of Lewis & Clark Expedition fame).

The Derby has a long tradition, having been run every year since 1875.The festivities and pageantry surrounding the race, including the fancy hats, the parties and of course the signature cocktail – the Mint Julep – are a throwback to a time when horse racing was a major sport in the US. The race retains the ability to make the American public stop and watch and is a bucket-list item for many sports fans.

Can such a traditional race still generate excitement?

There are multiple ways that brands can create exciting promotions, with a large insured prize, connected to the Derby.

Here are a few ideas:

Perhaps all entrants are given the opportunity to win the insured prize if they can correctly pick the exact order of finish of the top ten horses. Anyone that can do so would be awarded a prize matching the winnings of the winning horse ($1.86 million in 2018).

Another possibility would be to turn the “pick the winners” premise upside down by asking contestants to pick the order of the LAST three or five horses in the finishing order. Perhaps the insured prize would be the amount paid at auction for the top horses in the race.

Additionally, a brand might create a Derby promotion by offering one randomly selected contestant a large, insured prize if the winning horse breaks the track record for the race (1.59.40 set by Secretariat in 1973).

PPI’s experience can help you create eye-catching promotions that capture consumers’ attention for the brands that you work with. We are especially good at coming up with just the right unique, creative promotion mechanic, along with the right size of the prize and odds of winning to fit the brand’s budget.

Whatever the premise, a promotion built around the Kentucky Derby can be a big winner for a brand and its customers.

Contact PPI at 888-407-5841, email us, or fill out our quick quote request to let us know if you’re interested in creating a Derby Day promotion or any other unique contest. We can help you make it happen.

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