Ten, twelve, maybe even fifteen years ago gamblers were often saying to racing that they are the market, but they are not giving them what they want. Over that similar window of time, and even before that, racing was steadfastly married to marketing to the masses - trying to get on mass market television, showing human interest stories about a girl and a horse, and so on.
This week something popped up that finally makes sense. Using the gambling market as the target for racing. In Europe, the Poker Channel is covering one hour of racing a night.
The Poker Channel also announces its first ever live horse-racing coverage, which airs for one hour every evening from a selection of leading US racetracks including Philadelphia Park, Hawthorne and Tampa Bay. Racing coverage is broadcast live on the Channel in all markets except the UK and Ireland.
The target demographic is not people at home in the afternoon on a Saturday with busy lives, who would not know a superfecta from superman. They are bettors who 1) Have online poker accounts 2) Know gambling 3) Bet thousands of dollars a year on sports and other games to try and make money and 4) Are prequalified gamblers who are willing to learn about other games to play.
There are a ton of specialty channels world-wide who are screaming for content. Gambling TV in Canada, several in Europe. What if racing actually spent some cash developing gambling content for these networks instead of spending money to get a race shown on National TV that no one ends up watching? Google has proven that prequalified, targeted marketing is the future and the present, so what if we finally followed that example, instead of being shackled to old thinking? Who knows, something wacky might happen..... some people might actually bet.