I am a horse racing fan, a dying breed. I used to thrive in cavernous grandstands everywhere until other forms of gaming and a lack of television exposure drove my sport to the verge of extinction .
What can be done to make sure my species does not become extinct?
More than anything else we talk about events like the Triple Crown and remarkable horses: develop a strategy to keep the sport in the public eye longer and an incentive that stops the stars from being shipped off to stud.
We come back for the emotional thrill and emotional attachments take time (see above bullet point #1).
We love a good story: good marketing tells a story: the careers of racing stars are always “short stories” (see bullet point #1).
We can be lazy and have short attention spans: do not make it hard for us to get into the game (simplify access to ADW and increase TV coverage .
Change the Triple Crown : stop clinging to traditions that do not help the sport; leave the Belmont at 1 ½ miles but schedule the races four to six weeks apart. Right now unless a horse wins the Derby and the Preakness, racing is in the public’s mind for three or four weeks. Stretch out the series to keep the public interested over a longer period of time.
Change the Breeders Cup : break up the series to be run over a period of three months (September through November) once again creating more time for exposure and fans to develop.
Change the current business model for ADW: develop one uniform platform for ADW wagering that is available on all ADWs while easy to use and learn. Make betting appear seamless to the bettor no matter who the ADW company is.
Change the way racing is presented on television : develop one consistent format, one channel like ESPN, one place to go. Insure that racing is available on basic cable everywhere, everyday.
Change the ways race track operators compete: urge cooperation for the benefit of the fans (and themselves). Stop scheduling major triple crown prep races on the same day and time and forget about running the Breeders Cup races on a Friday when fans work.