Hollywood Park Becomes First US Horse Racing Track to Sell Naming Rights

March 15, 2012

Hollywood Park and Betfair US have entered into an agreement that is the first of its kind in horse racing. 

Under the five-year agreement Betfair, an online betting and gaming operator, received naming rights to the track which will be known as Betfair Hollywood Park. This is the first time a U.S. track has sold its naming rights.

“We realize that US racing, and California racing in particular, simply cannot continue on as it has,” said Jack Liebau, President of Hollywood Park Racing Association. “We need to look at the way we do everything in presenting our product to the public and not be afraid to embrace change, particularly if we are going to generate a younger fan base.

“We believe that partnering with Betfair to modernize the product will benefit California racing. Exchange wagering is another possibly transformative technological change for horse racing. However, it will only be introduced after a thorough consultation with our Horsemen and Horsewomen and, of course, its implementation is ultimately subject to the approval of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.”

In addition to the naming rights there will be upgrades to Hollywood Park’s simulcast signal with state-of-the-art graphics and TVG talent. TVG, a horse racing network, is a sister company to Betfair. Areas at the track will be created to be called “Betfair Lounge” and “Betfair Club.”

“We are deeply committed to changing US horse racing for the better and are delighted to find a partner in Hollywood Park Racing Association willing to take the bold step of trying to change every facet of the racing experience to appeal to a broader, younger audience,” said Stephen Burn, CEO of Betfair US and TVG. “horse racing is a wonderful sport, but it must embrace cultural change and utilize advancements in technology and presentation to survive and thrive just as other sports and entertainment industries have done. We hope this is the first of many examples of using the assets of technology companies, such as Betfair, to revitalize historic venues such as Betfair Hollywood Park.”

The track is home to the $500,000 Hollywood Gold Cup for older thoroughbreds. Hollywood Park’s spring/summer meet gets underway Thursday, April 26 through Sunday, July 15.

by Ismail Uddin