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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Not Exactly Pen and Paper Handicapping

I was reading a book recently and the head of packaging and marketing for a major food company was speaking about package changes, and product changes. The gist of what he had to say could be synopsized as "if you offer more choice or package existing products differently, sales will go up".

In racing we have repackaged, or changed our product, not as a proactive act, but a reactive one. It seems many in power in our sport want things to be exactly like it has been and fear change. That darn internet betting for example was brought into the mix, not as a new thing to completely change the way we play (like Etrade did for stock trading), but just done by moving a tote machine into our homes. Presto, put it on the net and it is supposed to grow racing beyond its boundaries, to fantastic riches.

Not likely.

Conversely, I came across a commercial for a product that is built by the private market, for Betfair racing. I have no idea if this product is good, or bad. That is not the point of this. The salient point one should take from watching this below is that this is not 'betting like at the track, beamed into a house', far from it. This is a brand spanking new way to sell racing to new people - people who want to play a gambling game in new, fresh ways.

This video is actual horse race betting. No one is looking at Beyer figures, or watching replays to make these bets. But they are betting, in a completely different way. Just because they do not use a pen and paper to bet, does not mean they are not a viable market - far from it, in fact. They are a surging growth market that we need to survive.

When I watched this for the first time I said "wow, this is not my grandfathers racing". See if you have the same reaction.

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