Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Data Lock Up

On HANA's Mission Statement there is a mention of "better data distribution". Horseplayers pay through the nose for data, past performances, and even results files. Equibase was created for this back in 1990. In 1990 there was no Internet; no way to cut costs, and no way to offer this more cheaply. After all, being the sole source of legal gambling, if people wanted to play racing you must pay. Now with choice, and a better delivery of PP's and data, we think there has to be a better way. Especially, as we all know, putting up a PP on a PDF costs a fraction of what it costs to set it, print it, deliver it by truck and plane, and sell it at a track. But the price is not dissimilar to the old newsstand price of old.

It is not 1990 any more.

Ray Paulick explores this in a piece today. It is nice to see it is no longer just the odd fan and blogger speaking about this, it is influential people like Ray. And not only Ray; people inside the business are starting to think this as well.

“It is symptomatic of our industry being a step behind,” said one racing executive who has grown wary of Equibase’s profit-driven motive and thinks the company has strayed from its original mission. “It’s short-term thinking. If our objective in racing is for the horseplayers to win, we should do everything we can to help him, and increase the churn. That’s where the revenue for our business should come from, not from the statistics the horseplayer needs.”

We at HANA agree of course. As we have said earlier on this subject, 'free' is something we hear about on the Internet quite often. This is not a business model for many things like music, or books, or whatever. There is no monetization of these things - the book or song is the revenue. However, in racing, charging people for this data which can be used to not only bet, but promote the game is something we should have a look at. After all, if we have a PP in front of us and bet $10, at a 22% blended take we have already paid for the past performance, and will turn to race two. There is a correlated link between that and ROI. The free PP is a conduit for the revenue.

We are glad to see people are speaking about it finally. Now, will racing make a move?


Anonymous said...

I asked this question of racing about ten years ago. Mainly, when are you going to change with the times? The internet was right there and there was a huge opp to use it to distribute our sport to a whole new market (and an existing one) in a really cool way. The potential was endless.

I was told they couldn't. Whenever we ask a question like this we always seem to hear "we can't", basically in my view because some deal was written a long time ago. "We can't" is not a growth strategy. Not in 1998, nor in 2009.

Anonymous said...

This has damaged the horseplayer and racing for far too long. It is great to see that track executive say what horseplayers have been saying for ages. I shudder to think how much more I would bet, and make money for purses, if I had better access at a market driven rate. I certainly know it would more than pay for itself in terms of my personal wagering.

Anonymous said...

Racings thoughts on data makes most horseplayers think that we have seen the enemy and he is us.

Nice to see that track person's comment. I just thought horseplayers were speaking of this all this time. There is one of them with us!

Anonymous said...

This is one of the most basic issues in racing. I thought it would be another ten years before someone would address it, but maybe it will only take five. I hope HANA is front and center on pushing this.

Anonymous said...

I like the HANA ratings and things that we are doing,but you people have to get on this. There is probably not an issue in racing that almost every horseplayer agrees with other than takeout, and that is a tough thing to change. Get your asses moving. Change racing for the better. This grows the sport and it helps bring it into this century.

Rich R

(Note from HANA - (Received via email) )

Anonymous said...

I thought they would have had a strategy for this by now but I guess not.

Anonymous said...

I also would like to add my two cents worth. As a father of three who qualified for the DRf National Championship 5 years ago, the time I need to devote to information gathering and the cost associated with it just became to much. That and the drugs in the sport made it difficult for me to explain to my children who I would preach to just say no and do the right thing in their daily lives, seemed hypocritical to play a sport where drugs (illegal and legal) is rampant. I haven't played in a tournament since and my handle has declined 95%.