Churchill Downs IPTV Upgrade

Project Overview

The legendary Churchill Downs Racetrack wanted to provide a premium experience in its new 2,000-person capacity indoor space, the First Turn Club. To capture race day excitement, Alpha – working with partners VITEC and Ross Video – designed and integrated scalable IPTV and a state-of-the-art, dynamic video distribution solution.

low latency EP4 boxes for TV and live racing
endpoint scalability for ultimate flexibility
display windows on large-scale LED wall

Project Details

Churchill Downs Racetrack

Louisville, Kentucky

Facility integration
Fabrication & Installation
Testing & Programming

Project Engineer
David Muth

Lance Hutchinson
Jeff Volk



In 2023, as part of a multi-year upgrade, Churchill Downs Racetrack debuted the $90 million First Turn Experience. This trackside hospitality space features a 2,000-person indoor venue dubbed the First Turn Club, plus more than 5,000 additional stadium seats in a unique location with views of the Kentucky Derby walkover and the picturesque first turn framed by the historic Twin Spires. As the track’s newest premium ticket offering, the First Turn environment demanded a premium viewing experience. To provide a viewing experience befitting the track’s newest premium ticket offering, Churchill Downs turned to Alpha, its longstanding audiovisual solutions provider. But this project went further than that. It enabled Alpha and VITEC to show Churchill Downs how a scalable, reliable, low-latency video distribution solution could be extended facility wide to over 5,000 displays.


Though the First Turn Club is a premium guest environment, it’s one of a multitude of viewing and hospitality spaces across Churchill Downs – each of which required low-latency, highly reliable, and easily scalable streaming. Consequently, we designed a solution that was scalable far beyond a single viewing environment. Step one was “proof of concept” – giving stakeholders a demonstration of a low-latency IPTV solution enabled by VITEC’s MGW Diamond encoder. Impressed not only by the display quality, but by the flexibility and scalability of our proposed solution, Churchill Downs provided an enthusiastic go-ahead for this first phase of a facility-wide technology upgrade.


The first turn club includes over 150 displays as well as a bar video wall all fed by the VITEC and Ross Video distribution system. The Club also includes approximately 150 low-latency EP4s to run during live racing, with the encoding of all live feeds done through MGW Diamond. The dedicated on-site IPTV engineering team provided by Alpha and VITEC ensured faultless performance during Derby week, delivering live low-latency video feeds throughout the First Turn Club so every fan could watch the races from anywhere in the venue. At the conclusion of the week, the green light was given to expand the IPTV platform, which could grow by nearly 3,000 endpoints over the next 3-5 years.

“The First Turn project kicked off our modernization of Churchill Downs’ digital television infrastructure and video delivery. A completely new live TV and racing IPTV system by VITEC enables us to upgrade more than 5,000 displays over the next four to five years to achieve a simplified, connected solution for the future.”

Lance Hutchinson
Vice President, Alpha