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Everything You Need to Know About Club SI at Churchill Downs

The new venue is part of a multi-year partnership with Sports Illustrated

by Rachel Dube

March 19, 2024

Churchill Downs Racetrack

The Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular equine events in the world. It’s held annually on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville. However, this year, the event holds a special significance. It’s the 150th anniversary of the Run for The Roses, the name for which the race has become affectionately known, and its beloved stadium is going all out for the celebration.

To celebrate, the famed racetrack has announced a new partnership with Sports Illustrated. This multi-year partnership gives the brand exclusive naming rights to a new dining experience, called Club SI. It will take the place of the 1895 Club and will debut on the opening night of Derby Week (May 4, 2024). The new addition is part of the $200 million renovation Churchill Downs undertook in honor of the Derby’s 150th anniversary.

Dining entrance

“As we approach the 150th Kentucky Derby, we are thrilled to partner with a brand as iconic as Sports Illustrated to offer guests an enhanced way to enjoy this incredible anniversary event,” said Mike Anderson, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack in a press release. “Sports Illustrated shares our goal of combining exciting sports moments with upscale entertainment, and Club SI will provide the perfect space to achieve this.”

Paddock, Club SI bar area

With a location in the newly renovated Paddock, Club SI will offer a luxury equine-focused dining experience. It will include a chef’s table buffet with cocktail service and a carefully curated menu. In addition, there will be trackside outdoor viewing during live racing, a private bar, and attended wagering windows. While dining at the venue, guests will have panoramic views of the all-new Paddock and Paddock runway.

Paddock, Club SI lower dining area

Once inside, Club SI will showcase past Sports Illustrated magazine covers, along with editorials featuring past Kentucky Derby races. In addition, it’ll give guests an inside look into the new Sports Illustrated SI Resorts vertical.

“It is an honor to bring Club SI to Churchill Downs Racetrack, which has such a rich history that we’ve showcased through the pages of Sports Illustrated for decades,” said Michael Sherman, SVP Media Brands at Authentic Brands Group, owner of the Sports Illustrated brand. “Club SI will celebrate iconic elements of the brand while hosting celebrity talent and offering guests gourmet cuisine and cocktails, a unique vantage point of the new Paddock, and a once-in-a-lifetime horse racing experience for Derby 150.”

The club will be open specifically for premium race days. As part of the experience, it will have dining tables that can accommodate parties with two, four, six, or eight guests. There will also be outdoor seating with tables that’ll accommodate parties of four.

For every Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oats, celebrity ambassadors will be chosen by Sports Illustrated to host the iconic events. The race itself will include guests that are mavens of the sports industry and have graced the cover of the magazine.