Skip to main content

There's Not Much Left But the Bettor

I came across an interesting chart tonight on music sales revenue:


The graph is fairly self-explanatory.  In the late 1980's to around the year 2000, CD sales were a positive innovation for revenues. They sounded better, lasted longer and were much more expensive. Add the fact that all the previously sold tapes and LP's would have to be rebought again to fill out your collection, and we've got ourselves a big bubble.

In 2000, along came digital music, with marginal costs that approached free. The bubble was broken and sales revenue went down. Sure people once again rebought old tunes, but they weren't paying $20 for ten songs in a shiny package, sometimes with nine of them they didn't even like. They were paying 99 cents at a website near their fingertips.

This chart is not unlike a chart for racing's core revenues. We too were in a bubble that when shocked (some would say finally made fair for competitors) finally burst. There was nowhere, or nothing else, in many towns and cities across North America to gamble on in a legal way. When that changed, racing found it difficult to compete, and handle was lost.

That is where the similarity ends. The music industry could fight their revenue losses in myriad ways. Because album or CD sales were not the be all and end all, and their entertainers were worth something, they could thrive. Music is heard by more people than ever before because of digital downloads and youtube. With cheap pricing and cheap broadband comes more supply, and more demand. Concert revenues can grow, as can sponsorship of tours. This is, in part, why despite the curve above, total worldwide music revenues has grown every year since 2000 and now stands at almost $68B.

If racing followed the same path we would have seen the handle bubble burst, but we'd shift to alternate forms of horse racing revenue to make up the losses. The problem with that, is that there are no other sources of horse racing revenue. We pay networks to show us not the other way around. People won't pay $160 to watch horse's run around in a circle like they do to watch Bono sing around in a circle. We can't sell a jockey's jersey for $97 either.

We're left only with the bettor. That's it.

So far (I don't think it's a stretch to say) we have not embraced growing new bettors and keeping our old ones happy. We haven't cultivated them like online stock trading firms do their customers. We haven't offered them new ways to play, like an exchange. We haven't lowered prices for them - in fact, in places like California we have done just the opposite.

That's probably because we have been given slots for a little while and the subsidy has eased the pain, as most subsidies do.

But sooner or later, all that's left will be the bettor. When they ask why they should continue to patronize our sport, or tell friends to join and support the industry to help it grow again, we'd better have an answer for them.


Comments

gib. said…
I am not "we," I assume that you are not "we." We pony up our bets. We do our part.

If the industry continues to ignore its patrons big purses and mega-stables were die. The game won't. Somebody will always be running their horses against somebody else somewhere and we'll have our money down. What do I care about purse money - I don't get a cut.
Anonymous said…
We's got slots! Who cares!!!!!!!

Popular posts from this blog

Sword Dancer Shenanigans Proves the Public's Point

Ask any random person who has not watched a horse race, or maybe have seen one or three : "Is horse racing fixed?"

They'll probably say, sure it is; common knowledge.

At that point, racing folks get excited to defend their sport. 99% of the races are clean, there is too much money involved to fix races, etc etc. 

Then we have yesterday's Sword Dancer, where not one of us can blame anyone for thinking like they do about the sport.

It's probably bad enough that a "rabbit" was entered for an old-time form of race fixing, but that the horse was ridden like a quarterhorse made the optics look terrible. That another horse - Roman Approval - had to be physically restrained due to the cowboy style race riding of the horse sent to destroy him, is probably just as bad optically.

But that was just the beginning. The real story had just begun.

At the head of the lane, this rank, spent, heart-ripped out rabbit, needed to do even more work for the 1-9 shot. He had t…

If #harnessracing is Afraid of the Answer......

There's a saying, apparently, from the legal community - never ask a question if you don't know the answer.

Today at the USTA meeting Jason Settlemoir put forth a motion that the USTA ask its membership the feelings on a question regarding slots and marketing. In a nutshell, it asked if a percentage of slot money should go into a slush fund to be spent on marketing and ancillary items to promote and grow the sport.

When the 54 director votes were tallied, the score was 47 to 7..... against.

Yes, the leadership of an organization voted down, in a landslide, asking the grassroots membership a question. 

Sure this seems super-silly, but why they did it, I think, is an easy one. They knew that if they asked the question the answer would be a resounding "yes". Then all hell would break loose. They'd have to try and get that done.

If harness racing is afraid of the answers to questions, they don't ask them. That seems to be the mantra of the sport. And it's p…

PTP's Bathing Index ® Derby Handicapping Angles - This is Much Better than Dosage

Good day racing fans!

It's one week until the Derby, where drunk people, rich people, sororities at almost every University, and others get together to watch, wager, take molly, drink juleps, wear hats, have parking issues, and partake in the annual Kentucky horse racing tradition.

I have scanned the big websites, read almost all social media and was very surprised that there are not a lot of people giving their thoughts on this year's Run for the Roses. It's like no one has an opinion! So in my never ending search for traffic, I decided to pop up a handicapping post. I think this post will help both new fans and old salty handicappers land on a winner.

As most know, physicality is important for handicapping (Leadbetter, et al). A lesser known angle is watching how a horse reacts while getting soapy water thrown on him. As long time handicapper Jessica notes, it can be a key to unlocking Derby betting fortune.


Preach.

Let's begin with our control group, Kentucky Derby …