Dave Carroll is a singer in a band. On a trip he and his band were taking via United Airlines his guitar was damaged. He tried to get compensation for the damage from the airline, but was met with resistance. After becoming frustrated he wrote a song "United Breaks Guitars" and it was an instant viral hit - youtube has shown the video over 7 million times.
In the age of social networking, when customers speak, there must be a response, or the business can be damaged.
It is no secret that racing has not done well responding to both business problems and customer problems, but there is a sign this is changing.
In Ontario, the Ontario Racing Commission has stepped in to tell fighting horsemen and tracks (in harness racing) to get a deal done. The signal has been shut off at two tracks as of December 31st and customers are left in the cold - unable to bet if they live in a tracks "home area". Years ago the Commission would not have stepped in and allowed them to fight. Not any longer, because customers are being responded to, in a flash:
I am dismayed and disappointed that the respective parties are so short sighted that they opted to penalize the most important component of their joint business, the customer. Why not find a mutually acceptable means to keep the customer served?............Are racing’s customers in such great supply that it can afford the luxury of turning off the signal? Today, customers have many options on where to spend their “disposable” dollars. They don’t need horse racing, horse racing needs them!
What message is the industry sending to government, a government that continues to support horse racing like no other government in North America?
In Australia, a jockey is being looked at for what the commission describes as a curious ride on a favorite.
"You stayed inside where you were then in a position where you had 15 horses dictating what happened to you,'' Birch said. "There would be plenty of people out there thinking she (Deer Valley) had a nice little look around for next week.''
Horseplayers gripe about a lot, and more than likely 99% of the time it is just blowing off steam. However, when hundreds of people at the track and thousands at home question a ride, or a result via a reversal of form, they need to know that their money is respected. (h/t to Equidaily)
Both of those items are good to see.
In the US, unfortunately things are not so rosy. As we all know, signals are being withheld from horseplayers via the Trackent/Mid-Atlantic dispute. It is a sad commentary on racing, but wouldn't it be nice if there was a commission like Ontario's that stepped in to tell the parties to get things done? If the parties do not care about customers, maybe they should be forced to.