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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Thin Veil of Ignorance

Recently at a panel I was on, I spoke of a winner who was keeping track of his bets overseas, and how he was doing quite well. His blog is a hit. At the same conference, marketing was spoken about. A professional player who was there came up to me and said "we don't need marketing, we need winners like the guy you showed. That will grow the game."

Our pal Doug who wrote our Why I Left Racing series here posed an interesting question that we'd like to run. It is about the age-old handicapping topic of redboarding. It does fit with the professional players thoughts quite nicely, I thought. Thanks for allowing us to use it Doug.



A thin veil of ignorance....

....may be what is hurting the game.

Now, I'm not talking about the hypothetical situation developed by the great American philosopher, John Rawls, but in a similar vein of reciprocity I offer this direction of marketing the sport of Thoroughbred Horse Racing.

There are those that find the concept of redboarding an obnoxious display of poor form. My position is that the sport needs more of it.

On Wednesday, May 5th, ESPN2 aired an interview with a horseplayer named Bowen Wallace.

Why?

Because Bowen hit the Derby Superfecta for $275,000 on a $1 five horse box that cost him $120.

When was the last time you heard an interview on ESPN with a horsePLAYER?

Horseplayers throughout history have been notoriously tight-lipped, but even Andy Beyer says that if your score exceeds 10% of your gross annual income, that this entitles you to jump up on the table and declare yourself KING OF THE WORLD.

Now is the time for all horseplayers to come to the aid of their sport. Find the avenue to illustrate your big win. Explain the strategy. Those six figure hits can find their way on a local medium. Radio, TV, & Print are always looking for a good feel-good story.

These stories bring people out to the track more than a Graded Stake with a stellar field of 7 entrants.

It is obvious that racing administrators aren't doing everything they can to market the sport forward. Horseplayers need to step up and show the financial potential of the sport. Indian Casino's across the country advertise $10k jackpots with their loose slots. I think an interesting story on how you hit a $125,000 Pik6 will put a few new butts in the seats. Sure, you spent 6 hours studying the sequence. 20 years of experience and analysis resulted in the score. You don't want to give away your theory and methodology, so why not explain how you played your nieces and nephews ages in the in the last six races on the card. You've now just doubled the tally of those that will find their way back to their local oval.

Bowen Wallace of Tilden, Texas probably did more to benefit the sport than Mine That Bird did by winning the Derby. The success of this sport is measured by it's players. You can talk about the horseman, owners, and jocks all you want, but those that drive the sport are the horseplayers.

Let's open up the game.

6 comments:

rwwupl said...

Right on Doug. More horseplayer winners equals more people trying to become winners themselves.The racing Marketing Managers seem to overlook this issue and bury it.
It is as if they want to downplay the gambling aspect of the game, when in fact it is paramount to draw the fans.
Race the horses without gambling and see how many people show up.

Cangamble said...

I've often said that winners create players. I think though, that horse racing heads know that because of takeout, winners are few, and long term winners are fewer.
They may not want to touch that hornet's nest. Again, from a reliable source, I heard that 1 in 1000 HPI members win in any 365 day sequence. And because that person won one year doesn't mean he or she won the next year.
If they start interviewing winning horseplayers they may have to bring rebates and high takeouts into the limelight. And I don't think the racing execs want to go there.

Anonymous said...

The problem with this blog and so many others is not the ideas and concepts being relayed, it's the ignorance that all racetrack operators and marketers "aren't doing anything" to help racing. Spend a few days in the office of a racetrack executive and you'll see how the horse racing model and its many arms and legs are the challenge. The overall model which drives horse racing is flawed, and no one marketer or track admin can change that. The problems you and your fellow HANA shills talk about are great concepts, but until racing, as a whole, addresses the underlying issues, the game will stagnate.

TurfRuler said...

The one thing that truly amazes me is that the race track managers really believe that the 50,000 or 150,000 fans that attend a major horse racing event will return to the track when 90% of them lose their money. With practically no help from management on how to play the game, except how to make the wagers, they seem to believe that the fans who come out to these events somehow will know how to pick winners. It seems that since they don't care who wins and are just as mystified, they are willing to let the people who pay to come into their show be mystified as well and believe they will come back to see the pretty horses.

HANA said...

Anon,

Regarding this comment:

The problem with this blog and so many others is not the ideas and concepts being relayed, it's the ignorance that all racetrack operators and marketers "aren't doing anything" to help racing. Spend a few days in the office of a racetrack executive and you'll see how the horse racing model and its many arms and legs are the challenge. The overall model which drives horse racing is flawed, and no one marketer or track admin can change that. The problems you and your fellow HANA shills talk about are great concepts, but until racing, as a whole, addresses the underlying issues, the game will stagnate.

>>>>>>>>>>
Please do not paint us with a brush like that. In no way have we said that marketing is not being done, or is not a priority. The argument we make at times with this, is that the right type of marketing is not being done. We have spent upwards of 100M over the last ten years marketing this sport, with well intentioned efforts from tracks and organizations like the NTRA. That marketing has had a horrible ROI, or ROAS. HANA argues that we need a new direction with marketing, and offers new ideas for discussion regarding delivery mechanisms, price and so on. In fact, I would think many racetrack execs (in fact I know they do snce I have spoken with several of them) agree with that, and we offer out our hand to work with them to get it done.

Thanks for the comment,

HANA

Cangamble said...

Anon, I'm fully aware that horse racing marketers have two strikes against them at the start. They basically have no chance because like you say, the business model makes marketing next to impossible. Until tracks lower the prices (by either decreasing takeout, or increasing rebates), growth is an impossibility.
Hana shills? Whatever.

Turf Ruler, slight correction. The number is more like 99%+, not 90%:)