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Company > Churchill Downs Inc: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2024

Churchill Downs Inc: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2024

Published: Feb 02, 2024

Inside This Article


    Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), renowned for its iconic Kentucky Derby, stands as a paragon of success in the gaming and racing industry. As we embark on 2024, it's crucial to delve into CDI's strategic business model, which has facilitated its ascendancy. This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of CDI's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT), alongside an evaluation of its competitive landscape. Understanding these dynamics is essential for grasping CDI's market position and anticipating its future trajectory in the ever-evolving gaming and racing sector.

    What You Will Learn

    • Ownership and Mission Insight: Discover who owns Churchill Downs Inc, and understand the core values and mission that drive the company forward.
    • Revenue Streams and Business Model: Learn how Churchill Downs Inc generates revenue, alongside a detailed explanation of their Business Model Canvas, providing a clear picture of their operational framework.
    • Competitive Landscape and Strategic Analysis: Gain knowledge on Churchill Downs Inc's main competitors and dive into a comprehensive SWOT analysis to understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats faced by the company.

    Who owns Churchill Downs Inc?

    Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) is a prominent name in the horse racing, gaming, and betting industry, most famously known for hosting the prestigious Kentucky Derby. Ownership of such a significant entity in the sports and entertainment sector is often a point of interest for investors, enthusiasts, and the general public. In this section, we'll delve into the ownership structure of Churchill Downs Inc. to shed light on the entities and individuals who hold stakes in this iconic company.

    Institutional and Individual Ownership

    Churchill Downs Inc., like many publicly traded companies, is owned by a mix of institutional investors, private equity firms, and individual shareholders. Institutional investors are typically large financial organizations, such as mutual funds, pension funds, and endowments, which invest money on behalf of their clients or beneficiaries. These institutions often hold a significant portion of CDI's shares, influencing the company's strategic direction through their voting power.

    Among the top institutional investors in Churchill Downs Inc., you will find names like Vanguard Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc., two of the largest investment management firms globally. These companies manage billions of dollars in assets and have sizable positions in CDI, reflecting their confidence in the company's performance and growth prospects.

    Private equity firms may also have a stake in Churchill Downs Inc., attracted by the company's strong brand, historical significance, and potential for expansion in various gaming and betting markets. However, the specifics of these holdings can vary over time based on strategic acquisitions, divestitures, and investment decisions.

    In addition to these institutional and private equity owners, individual investors also play a crucial role in the ownership structure of Churchill Downs Inc. These can range from high-net-worth individuals to small-scale shareholders who believe in the company's value and potential. The collective ownership of individual investors contributes to the diversity and stability of CDI's shareholder base.

    Insider Ownership

    Another important aspect of Churchill Downs Inc.'s ownership is the stake held by insiders – key executives, board members, and other stakeholders who are intimately involved in the company's operations. Insider ownership is often viewed positively by the investment community, as it indicates that those with the most knowledge about the company have confidence in its future. Insiders may own shares directly or have options and other equity instruments that provide a vested interest in the company's success.

    Public Shareholders

    As a publicly traded company, listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol "CHDN," Churchill Downs Inc. is ultimately owned by its shareholders at large. The stock market facilitates the buying and selling of CDI shares, allowing public investors to participate in the company's financial journey. The distribution of ownership among public shareholders is fluid, changing with market transactions, but it represents the collective stake of the investing public in Churchill Downs Inc.


    In summary, the ownership of Churchill Downs Incorporated is a diverse amalgamation of institutional investors, private equity firms, individual shareholders, and insiders. This blend of stakeholders underscores the broad appeal and robust foundation of the company, positioning it for continued success in the competitive landscape of gaming, betting, and entertainment. As Churchill Downs Inc. evolves and expands, the composition of its ownership may also shift, reflecting the dynamic nature of investment in this iconic institution.

    What is the mission statement of Churchill Downs Inc?

    Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI), renowned for its flagship event, the Kentucky Derby, has a mission that extends well beyond the gates of its iconic racetrack. While the company's mission statement may evolve over time, reflecting its growth and diversification, the core essence remains dedicated to excellence and innovation in the world of horse racing and entertainment.

    The Mission Statement of Churchill Downs Inc.

    The mission statement of Churchill Downs Incorporated is centered around creating exceptional entertainment experiences by racing, gaming, and betting. Although the exact wording may vary, the essence of CDI's mission focuses on several key pillars:

    1. Excellence in Racing: At its heart, CDI is committed to maintaining the highest standards in thoroughbred racing, ensuring the sport's integrity, and celebrating its rich history. This commitment is epitomized by the Kentucky Derby, an event that has captivated millions of fans worldwide and symbolizes the pinnacle of horse racing excellence.

    2. Innovation in Entertainment: Recognizing the evolving landscape of entertainment and gaming, CDI is dedicated to leveraging technology and innovation to enhance the fan experience. This includes offering cutting-edge betting platforms, immersive gaming experiences, and expanding its reach through digital and social media channels.

    3. Community and Sustainability: CDI recognizes its role in the communities where it operates and is committed to sustainability and responsible gaming practices. By fostering a positive impact on local economies, supporting charitable initiatives, and promoting environmental stewardship, CDI aims to be a good corporate citizen.

    4. Growth and Diversification: While maintaining its roots in horse racing, CDI is also focused on growth and diversification within the broader entertainment industry. This includes expanding its portfolio of racetracks, casinos, and online wagering platforms to reach new audiences and create additional revenue streams.

    In essence, the mission of Churchill Downs Incorporated is to uphold the tradition and integrity of horse racing while pushing the boundaries of entertainment and gaming. Through a commitment to excellence, innovation, and community, CDI seeks to create unforgettable experiences for fans and stakeholders alike.

    How does Churchill Downs Inc make money?

    Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) is a name synonymous with horse racing, most notably as the home of the prestigious Kentucky Derby. However, the company's revenue streams extend far beyond the annual Run for the Roses. CDI has diversified its operations and income sources significantly over the years, turning it into a multi-faceted entertainment, gaming, and betting company. Here's how Churchill Downs Inc makes money:

    1. Racing Operations

    At its core, CDI is a racing operation company. The revenue from racing comes from several areas, including ticket sales, sponsorships, and broadcasting rights. The Kentucky Derby, being one of the most famous horse races globally, attracts substantial income from these sources, but CDI also owns several other racetracks across the United States, contributing to its racing-related revenues.

    2. Gaming

    A significant portion of Churchill Downs Inc's revenue now comes from its gaming operations. This includes both traditional casino gaming and slot operations at various venues it owns or operates. The company has strategically expanded its gaming operations across states with favorable gambling laws, contributing significantly to its bottom line.

    3. Online Wagering

    Churchill Downs Inc has made substantial investments in online betting platforms, most notably TwinSpires. TwinSpires is an online wagering platform for horse racing, sports, and casino games, which has seen significant growth, especially with the increasing legalization of sports betting in the United States. Online wagering offers high margins and has become a crucial part of CDI's revenue mix.

    4. Real Estate Development

    CDI has also ventured into real estate development around its racetracks and gaming facilities. By leveraging the land and locations it owns, the company has developed commercial and residential properties, adding a steady income stream from leases and sales.

    5. Historical Racing Machines

    A relatively new but rapidly growing revenue source for CDI comes from Historical Racing Machines (HRMs). These are akin to slot machines but base their outcomes on past horse races. HRMs have become popular in states where traditional slot machines are illegal or heavily regulated, providing a lucrative revenue source for Churchill Downs Inc, especially in Kentucky.


    Churchill Downs Inc's ability to diversify its income sources beyond the racetrack has been instrumental in its financial growth and stability. By capitalizing on the expanding gaming market, embracing digital transformation in betting, and leveraging real estate and new technologies like HRMs, CDI has established multiple robust revenue streams. This multifaceted approach ensures that while the Kentucky Derby remains the jewel in its crown, Churchill Downs Inc's financial health is not solely dependent on the racing calendar.

    Churchill Downs Inc Business Model Canvas Explained

    Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) is a prominent name in the gaming and racing industry, primarily known for its flagship event, the Kentucky Derby. Understanding the business model canvas of CDI provides insights into how it has sustained and expanded its operations over the years. The business model canvas is a strategic management tool that outlines a company's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances. Below, we delve into the critical components of the Churchill Downs Inc business model canvas.

    Value Propositions

    Churchill Downs Inc's value proposition revolves around offering premier racing experiences, high-quality gaming entertainment, and online wagering services. The company prides itself on its rich heritage, notably the Kentucky Derby, which attracts visitors from around the globe. Additionally, CDI offers a diversified portfolio of gaming products, including casinos and online betting platforms, appealing to a wide range of customers.

    Customer Segments

    CDI serves several customer segments, including:

    • Racing Enthusiasts: This segment includes individuals who follow horse racing and regularly attend races or bet on outcomes.
    • Casino Gamers: Players who prefer the casino environment, whether for slots, table games, or poker.
    • Online Bettors: Users who engage in betting through online platforms, enjoying the convenience of wagering from anywhere.
    • Event Attendees: People attending the Kentucky Derby or other events for the experience, entertainment, and social aspects.


    Churchill Downs Inc utilizes multiple channels to reach its customers and deliver value:

    • Physical Locations: Including the iconic Churchill Downs racetrack, casinos, and other racing facilities.
    • Online Platforms: Digital platforms for betting and gaming, such as TwinSpires, allow users to place bets on horse racing and other sports or play casino games online.
    • Mobile Apps: Apps that provide users with the ability to bet, play, and engage with CDI's offerings on-the-go.
    • Events and Sponsorships: Hosting events like the Kentucky Derby and engaging in sponsorships to increase brand visibility and attract visitors.

    Customer Relationships

    CDI fosters customer relationships through:

    • Personalized Services: Offering VIP experiences and personalized betting services to high-value customers.
    • Customer Support: Providing support through various channels, including phone, email, and live chat.
    • Loyalty Programs: Implementing loyalty and rewards programs to incentivize repeat visits and engagement across its platforms.

    Revenue Streams

    Churchill Downs Inc generates revenue through:

    • Admissions and Sales: Revenue from ticket sales, concessions, and merchandise at events and facilities.
    • Gaming Operations: Income from its casino operations, including slot machines and table games.
    • Online Wagering: Earnings from online and mobile betting platforms, taking a percentage of wagers as revenue.
    • Sponsorships and Media Rights: Revenue from sponsorship deals and the sale of media rights, particularly for high-profile events like the Kentucky Derby.

    Key Activities

    Key activities for CDI include:

    • Event Management: Organizing and hosting horse racing events, notably the Kentucky Derby.
    • Gaming Operations: Running casino and gaming operations across multiple states.
    • Platform Development: Developing and maintaining online and mobile betting platforms.
    • Marketing and Promotions: Conducting marketing campaigns and promotional efforts to attract and retain customers.

    Key Resources

    CDI's key resources comprise:

    • Physical Assets: Racetracks, casinos, and other entertainment facilities.
    • Brand: The Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby brands are significant assets.
    • Technology: Online and mobile platforms for betting and gaming.
    • Human Capital: Skilled personnel in operations, customer service, and technology development.

    Key Partnerships

    CDI's partnerships are critical for expanding its reach and enhancing its offerings:

    • Technology Providers: For developing and maintaining online betting platforms.
    • Sponsorship Partners: Brands and companies that sponsor events or specific races.
    • Regulatory Bodies: Working with gaming and racing regulatory authorities to ensure compliance.

    Cost Structure

    The cost structure of CDI includes:

    • Operational Costs: Costs associated with running racing and gaming operations, including payroll, maintenance, and security.
    • Marketing and Sales: Expenses related to marketing efforts, promotions, and customer acquisition.
    • Technology Development: Investments in developing and maintaining online and mobile platforms.
    • Compliance and Licensing: Costs related to regulatory compliance and obtaining necessary licenses.

    Understanding the business model canvas of Churchill Downs Inc sheds light on how it delivers value to its diverse customer base, generates revenue, and sustains its operations in the competitive gaming and racing industry.

    Which companies are the competitors of Churchill Downs Inc?

    Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) is a prominent name in the horse racing, casino, and online wagering industries. As the owner of the world-famous Kentucky Derby, CDI has carved a significant niche for itself. However, the landscape of the gambling and entertainment industry is highly competitive, with several key players vying for market share. Below, we explore some of the main competitors of Churchill Downs Inc.

    Penn National Gaming, Inc.

    Penn National Gaming stands out as a direct competitor to Churchill Downs Inc., operating across similar segments with its portfolio of casinos, racetracks, and online gambling platforms. Penn National has significantly expanded its footprint in the online gambling and sports betting arena, making it a formidable competitor in the areas where CDI seeks growth.

    MGM Resorts International

    MGM Resorts International is a global entertainment company with a strong presence in the casino and hospitality industry. While it is more broadly focused on resorts and entertainment beyond just racing and online betting, its extensive operations in the casino sector position it as a competitor to CDI, especially in markets where both companies have a presence.

    Caesars Entertainment, Inc.

    Caesars Entertainment is another heavyweight in the casino and entertainment industry, with a vast array of properties that directly compete with Churchill Downs' operations. Caesars' acquisition of William Hill, a global sports betting company, further escalates its competition with CDI, particularly in the rapidly growing U.S. sports betting market.

    Boyd Gaming Corporation

    Boyd Gaming Corporation operates a diversified portfolio of gaming properties across the United States. While it might not directly compete with Churchill Downs in the horse racing sector, its significant operations in the casino and online betting spheres make it a competitor in those markets where consumer entertainment dollars are at stake.

    The Stronach Group

    The Stronach Group is more niche in its focus but is a significant competitor in the horse racing industry. Owning several racetracks across the country, it competes directly with Churchill Downs Inc. for racing enthusiasts and bettors. The Stronach Group's investment in improving the race-going experience and in innovative wagering products also positions it as a key competitor in the industry.

    DraftKings Inc.

    With the rise of online sports betting, DraftKings Inc. has emerged as a strong competitor in the digital realm. Though it started as a daily fantasy sports platform, DraftKings has expanded into sports betting and online gambling, directly competing with CDI's online wagering operations. Its aggressive growth strategy and widespread brand recognition make it a noteworthy competitor.


    The competitive landscape for Churchill Downs Inc. is diverse, spanning traditional casino operators, online gambling platforms, and other racetrack owners. As the industry continues to evolve, particularly with the expansion of online betting and sports wagering, CDI faces competition on multiple fronts. Staying ahead in this dynamic environment requires continuous innovation and strategic expansion, ensuring that CDI can maintain its leadership position in the gambling and entertainment sector.

    Churchill Downs Inc SWOT Analysis

    Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) is a prominent name in the horse racing, online wagering, and gaming entertainment industries. Best known for hosting the prestigious Kentucky Derby, CDI has grown into a multifaceted company with operations spanning across various states and online platforms. In this section, we will delve into the SWOT analysis of Churchill Downs Inc to understand its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the current market landscape.


    Brand Recognition and Heritage: Churchill Downs Inc benefits immensely from its association with the Kentucky Derby, one of the most famous horse races in the world. This event not only contributes significantly to the company's revenues but also enhances its brand value and heritage, giving it a competitive edge in the industry.

    Diversified Operations: CDI has successfully diversified its operations beyond the racetrack. Its ventures into online wagering, through platforms like TwinSpires, and its expansion into casino gaming and entertainment services have opened additional revenue streams, reducing its dependency on live events.

    Strategic Acquisitions and Partnerships: Over the years, Churchill Downs Inc has strategically acquired assets and formed partnerships that have strengthened its market position. These moves have allowed CDI to expand its geographic footprint and enhance its product offerings, catering to a broader audience.


    Regulatory Risks: Being in the gambling and betting industry, CDI faces significant regulatory challenges. Changes in gambling laws and regulations can have a direct impact on its operations and profitability, making it vulnerable to shifts in the legal landscape.

    Dependence on the Performance of the Horse Racing Industry: Despite diversification, a considerable portion of CDI's revenue is still tied to the horse racing industry, which has been facing declines in popularity and attendance. This dependency could pose a risk to its long-term growth.


    Online Betting and Gaming Expansion: The growing acceptance of online betting and gaming in the U.S. presents a substantial opportunity for Churchill Downs Inc. Expanding its online platforms and offerings can attract a new demographic of customers and generate significant revenue.

    International Expansion: Exploring markets outside the United States is another opportunity for CDI. The global interest in horse racing and gaming could allow Churchill Downs Inc to replicate its domestic success on an international scale, tapping into new revenue sources.


    Competition: The betting and gaming industry is highly competitive, with numerous players vying for market share. Increased competition, especially from online gaming platforms, could impact CDI's growth and profitability.

    Economic Downturns: Economic recessions and downturns can lead to reduced discretionary spending, affecting attendance at races and spending on betting and gaming. Such economic conditions could adversely affect CDI's financial performance.

    Technological Changes and Innovations: The rapid pace of technological advancement poses a threat to companies like CDI that operate in the online betting and gaming space. Failing to keep up with technological changes and innovations could result in a loss of market share to more agile competitors.

    In conclusion, Churchill Downs Inc stands as a strong entity in the horse racing and online wagering industry, backed by its renowned brand and diversified operations. However, navigating the regulatory environment, embracing technological advancements, and expanding into new markets are crucial for its continued success in the face of growing competition and changing industry dynamics.

    Key Takeaways from Churchill Downs Inc: Unveiling the Legacy and Strategy

    • Ownership and Mission: Churchill Downs Incorporated is a publicly traded company, with ownership distributed among various shareholders, including individual and institutional investors. Its mission focuses on providing the highest quality horse racing and gaming entertainment experience for its customers, emphasizing innovation, tradition, and excellence.

    • Revenue Streams: Churchill Downs Inc. generates its revenue through multiple channels, including live and simulcast racing fees, gaming operations (which encompass both casino gaming and online betting platforms), and other entertainment services related to its racing events. This diversified approach helps maintain a steady flow of income across different sectors of the entertainment and gaming industry.

    • Business Model Insights: At its core, the Churchill Downs Inc Business Model Canvas reveals a strategic emphasis on leveraging its iconic racing events (like the Kentucky Derby) to promote its gaming and entertainment services. Key activities include event management, gaming operations, and digital innovation, all supported by partnerships with other industry players and a strong focus on customer relationship management.

    • Competitive Landscape: Churchill Downs Inc. faces competition from various quarters, including other racetracks offering similar live and simulcast racing experiences, casinos, and online betting platforms. Major competitors include companies like Penn National Gaming, MGM Resorts International, and Caesars Entertainment, each competing in different segments of Churchill Downs Inc.'s diversified operations.

    • SWOT Analysis Highlights: Strengths of Churchill Downs Inc. include its strong brand recognition, especially tied to the Kentucky Derby, and its diversified revenue streams. Opportunities lie in expanding its online betting and gaming operations. However, threats such as changing regulations around betting and gaming, and the inherent risks of the entertainment industry, pose challenges. Weaknesses may include over-reliance on the performance of the horse racing sector and potential vulnerabilities in operational areas not as well-developed as their core racing and gaming segments.

    These takeaways offer a concise overview of Churchill Downs Inc.'s strategic positioning, operational strengths, and the challenges it faces in a competitive and regulatory environment.


    In conclusion, Churchill Downs Inc. stands as a prominent entity in the world of horse racing and gaming entertainment, with its ownership structure comprising publicly traded shares, allowing investors and stakeholders a piece of its storied legacy. The company's mission statement, focusing on creating the world's greatest racing and gaming entertainment experience, guides every aspect of its operations and strategic decisions. Through a diverse revenue model that includes live racing, online wagering, gaming, and additional entertainment services, Churchill Downs Inc. has established a robust financial foundation that enables it to innovate and expand continuously.

    The exploration of its Business Model Canvas sheds light on how the company leverages key resources, partnerships, and customer relationships to sustain and grow its market presence. This model not only highlights the company's operational strengths but also showcases its strategic approach to overcoming industry challenges and capitalizing on emerging opportunities.

    Competitors such as The Stronach Group, NYRA, and various gaming and entertainment companies keep the landscape dynamic and competitive. However, Churchill Downs Inc.'s strategic focus, brand heritage, and continuous innovation allow it to maintain a competitive edge in the market.

    The SWOT analysis of Churchill Downs Inc. reveals a company well-positioned to leverage its strengths and opportunities while being mindful of its weaknesses and the threats it faces. The company's ability to adapt to the changing entertainment landscape, coupled with its strong brand and diversified revenue streams, positions it well for future success.

    In essence, Churchill Downs Inc. is a testament to the enduring appeal of horse racing and gaming entertainment, underpinned by a strong business model, strategic foresight, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. As it moves forward, the company is well-equipped to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the industry, ensuring that it continues to thrive and deliver on its mission of providing unmatched racing and gaming entertainment experiences.


    How can I find a SWOT analysis on a company?

    There are several ways to find a SWOT analysis on a company:

    1. Company websites: Some companies may have their own SWOT analysis available on their websites, usually in the "Investor Relations" or "About Us" sections.

    2. Business databases: Many business databases such as Bloomberg, Hoovers, and MarketLine offer SWOT analyses on companies. These databases are often available through university libraries or subscription services.

    3. Business news websites: Websites like Bloomberg, Forbes, and Business Insider sometimes publish SWOT analyses on companies as part of their coverage.

    4. Industry reports: Industry reports from organizations like IBISWorld, Statista, and MarketResearch.com often include SWOT analyses on companies within that industry.

    5. Consulting firms: Consulting firms like McKinsey, Deloitte, and PwC may also publish SWOT analyses on companies as part of their research and analysis services.

    What will be the SWOT analysis?

    SWOT Analysis:


    1. Strong brand recognition and reputation
    2. Diverse range of products and services
    3. Strong customer base and loyalty
    4. Efficient supply chain and distribution network


    1. Dependence on a few key suppliers
    2. Vulnerability to economic downturns
    3. Limited presence in emerging markets
    4. High operating costs


    1. Expansion into new markets
    2. Introduction of new products and services
    3. Strategic partnerships and collaborations
    4. Increasing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly products


    1. Intense competition from rivals
    2. Fluctuations in raw material prices
    3. Changing consumer preferences
    4. Regulatory challenges and compliance issues.

    What is the SWOT analysis breakdown?

    SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps organizations identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here is a breakdown of each component:

    1. Strengths: These are internal factors that give an organization a competitive advantage. This can include things like a strong brand reputation, skilled employees, unique products or services, and efficient processes.

    2. Weaknesses: These are internal factors that hinder an organization's ability to achieve its goals. This can include things like outdated technology, lack of resources, poor management, and limited market reach.

    3. Opportunities: These are external factors that could positively impact an organization. This can include things like market growth, new technology, partnership opportunities, and changing consumer preferences.

    4. Threats: These are external factors that could negatively impact an organization. This can include things like competition, economic downturns, regulatory changes, and natural disasters.

    By analyzing these four components, organizations can develop strategies to capitalize on their strengths, address their weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and mitigate threats.

    Who are Churchill Downs competitors?

    Churchill Downs' competitors include other horse racing tracks such as Santa Anita Park, Belmont Park, and Gulfstream Park. Additionally, they also compete with other entertainment venues and casinos for customers' entertainment dollars.

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