Social networks aren't a social network without people. Neither is an online dating site, neither is Ebay. You need a critical mass of people interacting with others to make it work.
Horse racing, as we have heard repeatedly in lobbying materials of late, is a very labor intensive industry. In Ontario alone, probably over 40,000 people have something to do with horse racing. That's one province. North America wide the number is falt-out huge.
Today on her blog, Shannon Castgnola had a couple of ideas to grow horse racing. One, was if you are an owner and are not using your box seats, give them to someone who has never been to the races. Another, pass out a $5 betting voucher to someone, and then ask them how they did.
If you multiply that by the hundreds of thousands of people in this sport, you're onto something. You have created a Groupon for horse racing.
Mobilizing the base of this sport is difficult, and to my knowledge has never even been tried. What if the Jockey Club or the USTA or Standardbred Canada devised a care and marketing package distributed to each owner, trainer, and groom when licenses are renewed. This package would have some free admissions, or programs, or what have you, and the sports participants could seek out a person to introduce racing to.
This is not direct mail, because the horseperson has face to face contact with whom he is giving it to. Instead of a 1% or less conversion rate, the conversion rate would likely be sky high. Out of a half million packages, perhaps 400,000 would be converted to an actual body. If those people spend $20 at the track, that's $8 million in revenue. If 5% come back a few times a year, well, that's a hell of a successful program.
We have hundreds of thousands of salesmen and women across North America, but they've never even been asked to serve.
Racing should find a way to mobilize this social network.