He didn’t complete the elusive Triple Crown but Preakness and Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome is still a rock star. So much so that his entry into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic is credited for increasing ticket demand–and prices.
This year’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park has created more interest among casual racing fans and its their turnout that creates the upward pressure on ticket prices on the secondary market. Online ticket broker TiqIQ reports that Breeders’ Cup ticket resale prices are the highest in four years by a number of metrics. The average price for the first day of the Breeders’ Cup (October 31) is on average $375.31 with a ‘get-in’ price of $27. California Chrome will race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic on day 2 (November 1) and ticket prices for day 2 average $376.25 with a $35 ‘get-in’ price. All of these prices represent a significant increase over the 2010 and 2011 Breeders’ Cup held at Churchill Downs and the 2012 and 2013 event held at Santa Anita.
In 2011, the average Breeders’ Cup secondary market ticket price was $163.27 for a 130.4% increase this year. The 2012 and 2013 Breeders’ Cups–also at Santa Anita–had secondary market ticket prices roughly 40% below this year’s averages. TiqIQ also says that they’ve had brisk sales for a VIP package covering the two days and costing $2150. The package includes reserved seating, access to the enclosure area to watch the horses saddle, gourmet catering, celebrity appearances and other perks.
According to TiqIQ the ‘toughest ticket’ in horse racing this year was–not surprisingly–the Belmont Stakes with California Chrome attempting to win the Triple Crown. The average ticket price for the Belmont was $381.80 for the Belmont or just over $6 higher than the Breeders’ Cup. The tracks have roughly the same capacity (Belmont is listed at 85,000 and Santa Anita 90,000) so the alternate causalities that would influence ticket prices are minimal. Assuming that the demand at the Belmont was California Chrome’s run at the Triple Crown it’s impressive how his popularity has held up despite falling short of the toughest challenge in racing.
One final caveat about all of this–keep in mind that TiqIQ isn’t exactly neutral in all of this. While they certainly have the data it’s important to remember that they’ve also got a vested interest in higher ticket demand. For that reason, ‘your mileage may vary’.