Friday, March 12, 2010

The entire racing community will be watching…but will anyone else?



I don’t have to tell you that March 13th will be a big day in Thoroughbred racing. With the prep races of Rachel Alexandra running in the New Orleans Ladies and Zenyatta in the Santa Margarita it will be a VERY big day for racing.

I don’t have to tell you these races will be the lead up to biggest showdown since Seabiscuit vs. War Admiral, since Alydar vs. Affirmed, since Wyatt Erpt vs. the Dalton Gang. I don’t have to tell you these races should bring a national spotlight upon our sport. I also don’t have to tell you NONE of the major networks are covering the races.

Although my point of view is tainted due to my love of the sport I am mystified as to why none of the major networks deemed these races worthy to broadcast. Where are our marketing representatives those who claim to promote and market the sport? Those who charge membership fees under the guise of promoting Thoroughbred ownership and breeding.

Did they fight to get these races televised to a national audience? I look at TOBA’s web site and there is no indication that they even tried. If I’m wrong then show me I am.

Marketing this great sport should be a privilege it should be undertaken with zeal. Not a place to show up for eight hours a day and collect a paycheck. If you truly want to promote ownership, if you truly want to promote breeding then promote racing.

A full court press should have been undertaken to get these races televised. A blow by blow description of marketing strategies and their outcomes should have been posted on their web site. Their members deserve that. They deserve to know their membership dues are being used for something other then under attended seminars.  

At least the NTRA has taken a pro-active stance and will offer free live video streaming of the races. Yes, one can rightfully argue they should also be involved in marketing the races. But at least they are doing something to promote our sport by televising the races to those who don’t have satellite services.

Our mantra should be “if you want to grow the sport then show the sport”. The sport will sell its self. Introduce the excitement and joy of racing to the uneducated and ownership could skyrocket. Do nothing and watch the numbers plummet.  So the question begs to be asked of the two which is better. 

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why would they televise the prep races? They're short fields, almost completely lacking in quality outside Rachel and Zenyatta.

The important thing is to get quality coverage on April 9.

Bill Yates said...

The above comment by ANONYMOUS shows true ignorance. Why would they televise it...BECAUSE TWO OF THE GREATEST THOROUGHBREDS IN HISTORY ARE PREPARING FOR THE MOST ANTICIPATED RACE SINCE POTENTIALLY WAR ADMIRAL VS. SEABISCUIT...THAT'S WHY YA BIG DUMMY!!!

Anonymous said...

Bill:
Then we should be breaking into network programming and CNN with each of their workouts too? They are part of the preparation for the showdown as much as these preps. And a network is covering them: HRTV. And there's a potential greatest race since War Admiral and Seabiscuit every year. No sense getting all breathless over this. If the Apple Blossom happens, terrific. It will be televised.

railrunner said...

The Rebel is going to be broadcast on ESPN I heard last week, but I since haven't been able to confirm that. If so that's great but I agree, Rachel and Zenyatta are bigger than anything else in this sport right now. It's not right, but at least the Apple Blossom (if they both enter and win their preps) will be televised big-time.

Bill Yates said...

Anonymous, apparently I touched a nerve. "Breaking into CNN"?? You're obviously naive or obtuse this is a horse race not a breaking news event. And you're absolutely wrong in your assessment that there is a "greatest race since War Admiral and Seabiscuit every year". No there is NOT you obviously haven't been paying attention...or...maybe you are obtuse.

Who watches CNN anyway??

Bill Yates said...

Railrunner, good point at least that will be televised.

Glenn Craven said...

Why show preps? A number of Kentucky Derby preps are televised. Granted, those are usually graded-stakes races. But so is Zenyatta's run Saturday -- a Grade 1, in fact.

If you want people to watch on April 9, suspense should be building NOW, not beginning, say, April 8. Which is about as much attention as mainstream media will give that race unless you beat them over the head with how important it is beginning, say, NOW.