Sports Illustrated and Churchill Downs have signed a deal for the luxury Club SI to be included in the racetrack’s renovations ahead of the 150th Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby is May 4, 2024 and will be held at the newly renovated Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Club SI will be premiered on the Opening Night of the Spring Meet preceding Kentucky Derby 150, unveiling the racetrack’s $200 million transformation of the Paddock area. Churchill Downs announced Sports Illustrated will have exclusive naming rights for a luxury dining area as part of a multi-year deal. 

Club SI, originally named the 1895 Club, is a luxury space that boasts views into the Paddock stalls and Runway. Tickets for Derby Day at Club SI start at $7,500 a person and includes a curated chef’s table buffet, cocktail service, and on-site parking. The front-row experience will also showcase a designated wagering windows and outdoor trackside viewing. According to a press release, “the interior design of Club SI will showcase iconic Sports Illustrated magazine covers, editorials featuring past Kentucky Derby races, SI artwork, and a sneak peek into Sports Illustrated’s new SI Resorts vertical.” For the Kentucky Derby 150 and the Kentucky Oaks, the Club SI guest list includes several celebrity ambassadors, sports stars, and high-profile industry names.

The construction project at Churchill Downs has been in progress since well before Kentucky Derby 149. The project’s scheduled conclusion is mid-April, to give time to prepare before Derby week. The Paddock Project will double the size of the existing Paddock and include luxury boxes, dining and drinking areas like Club SI, and a behind-the-scenes look at the horses heading to the track. Club SI, the Woodford Reserve, and Silks Balcony have been renovated as part of the project. The completed Paddock will hold 3,600 new seats and 3,250 new standing-room tickets. On top of these changes, a $14 million redesign of the Jockey Suites will see completion before the 2024 Derby week. Churchill Downs is still hosting the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks prep races during ongoing construction.

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The racetrack has experienced ongoing renovations, such as the $90 million First Turn Project, completed before Kentucky Derby 149. The project added 7,100 seats to the first turn area, which provides some of the best views of the racetrack, as well as a 50,000-square-foot hospitality area. Much of the racetrack, including the Paddock, hadn’t been updated since the 1980s. With these renovations, Churchill Downs is ushering in a new era.

All of the exciting new features at Churchill Downs will be unveiled as part of the spectacle of the Kentucky Derby 150. Officials say there will be special events leading up to Derby week that have yet to be announced. The prize money for the winning jockey has been increased to $5 million for the landmark event – two million dollar above the previous year’s $3 million.