Horseracing Should Be Listening!

At this time of year I like to reflect on goals set and achieved in the past year and on the general state of my life before embarking on the year ahead. Leon Smuts writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag that this is something that racing could also benefit from, especially given the many challenges faced and the difficulty of the road that will still have to be travelled.

Over the last decade or so I have had the privilege of meeting individuals from all three of our racing regions and I have learned much from these interactions, both good and bad.

The one stand out thing which is a big plus, is that every one of these people are passionate about racing and wanting it to succeed, and this is a good starting position in an extremely challenging environment.

“On the other side it is obvious that their love for racing is overshadowed by a very limited belief in the product that they have to sell, that very much the result of many years of hardship in a struggling and shrinking industry which has taken its toll on very able group of people.”

It has also made them negative towards solutions that are longer term in nature as the dire need for immediate results are so apparent when the numbers continue to paint such an unflattering picture.

In every discussion that I have had the need for diversification of the income stream has always been highlighted by this group, basically a need to subsidise racing for its failure to be self-sustainable.

Diversification is a very necessary strategy and one that should be supported, and I do, but the danger that is already evident is a complete lack of belief in the traditional core product to deliver much stronger and sustainable results.

Mention the need for the tote to grow and it is met with a barrage of resistance, not against the idea, but the feasibility of and potential cost of any such exercise. Not one will disagree that a strong tote is both desirable and crucial from a primary stakes funding perspective but other sources of subsidisation just seem more attractive as they are more readily and more easily available short term.

The bottom line is that racing’s fate is accepted and that years of an inability to market the sport successfully has drained both the resources and the will to do so.

What a tragedy for racing that the current philosophy in place is seeking non-racing solutions for a sport with way more potential than any other form of gambling and gaming to grow into something spectacular.

Looking at the marketing of racing both academically and practically it is one of the most attractive propositions that I as a marketer have seen in a very long time, and one that I would relish to be given an opportunity in to explore further.(…)

Read full article HERE

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