Beyer's Old School, Half Mile Tracks and Beadle-Bashing

Good morning racing fans!

Andy Beyer wrote a fantastic article today in the Wa-Po/Drf, about Orb's Derby win being "old school".
  • The old school believes a trainer should not manage a horse to fulfill the personal ambitions of the owner or trainer. The old school believes a trainer should be guided by the development and the capabilities of the animal. The old school believes judicious handling will eventually bring rewards.
The way he characterized the 'new school' was amazingly accurate, and so well-written
  • Every year he was a general masterminding an all-out assault on the Derby, and he threw his troops into battle knowing they would have to sustain casualties in the pursuit of his objective. 
"Sustain casualties" in the pursuit of the Derby. Think about that the next time you see a horse off the Derby trail with a hairline or bow.

Factory stables have commoditized horses to be pawns that are used to achieve a Derby win.  Does the horse need time to get sound? How can we, we won't be on schedule for the Derby. get the vet, spend $5,000 and send him to the Hypa-chamber.  Is the horse good enough for 10f and we have a chance to hurt his career if we race? Maybe, but let's go.

Maybe I am a fuddy-duddy, maybe the game has passed me by, maybe I am a softee, but give me the old school each and every time. The old school lets an animal tell you when and where he wants to race. That, to me, is not old school, it's common sense.

There's a new sport this weekend on twitter. It's called Beadle Bashing. Michele Beadle, the entertainment/fun/goofy-stuff-to-do-at-the-Derby NBC reporter is taking it on the chin from some (a lot) of racing fans. I've seen complaints that she knows nothing about racing, got terminology wrong, and didn't belong on the broadcast.

I must admit, it's flummoxing.

NBC and Churchill Downs, since about 2007, have made an all-out assault to increase the viewership for the Derby. The brand is huge for Churchill of course, but it's also formidable for NBC Sports. One of the things they've done is go after new demographics, as Seth Godin puts it, "the people who aren't looking at you".

To achieve that, they've sold the Derby spectacle. The parties, the red carpet, the pageantry and the tradition. Something to not go after you and me, but the new people watching, and to create a branded event that is a must see.

Ms. Beadle plays her role well, from what I saw. She's a fish out of water, along with millions of others watching who don't know a fetlock from a fraction, or a Beyer from a blinker (there are about ten people on the telecast to explain those things). She makes those people feel at home, and she does it in a comedic, fun way. It's not dissimilar to what happens in the Olympics, where many are watching the biathlon for the first time. There "fish out of water" reporting is key to ratings.

So far this strategy has worked. Ratings are up for the Derby, with well over 15 million tuning in. Prep races, even on the main network, draw less than one million. She, and before her entertainment reporter Billy Bush, have played a part in that, and don't expect it to change anytime soon.

Notes: 

Half mile track racing is an enigma for harness fans. The Jug is probably the only race, and track, where it can hold a bettors interest. A fans too. Yonkers and other tracks are up against it. Why? It was explored this weekend in HRU. (Pdf page 3). 


28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great comments about Michele Beadle. People seemed to miss the point. She wasn't supposed to be knowledgeable. If she attracts viewers great. Those who are already horse racing fans don't watch NBC for the great insight, they go there to see the race.

Anonymous said...

Bang-on. The Derby telecast (other than the race) is not for us. We're not supposed to like the coverage. Others who are tuning in for the event are who's needed.

kyle said...

It's an interesting question - the tone and content of Derby coverage. I pretty much can't stomach any of it. In other contexts I've always found Michele Beadle tolerable. What I did catch of her Saturday if found less objectionable than say Kenny Mayne and Hank Goldberg. The guy I absolutely can't stand is Pincay. He just says too many stupid, inaccurate things. Suffice it say, Jim McKay or Howard Cossell he is not. But it all comes down to this: The ratings were up. they were relatively good. That is relative to past broadcasts. That does not prove, however, that dumbing down the game is the way to go. We've never seen the game presented in an intelligent, respectful way. The NFL doesn't disrespect itslef and dump down a complex sport in order to attract the casual viewer. The Super Bowl pre-game has plenty of fluff. But when it comes to the game the X's and O's are taken seriously.

alan said...

Whether or not Ms. Beadle is knowledgeable is not the point. The fact that she is insufferable is.

SaratogaSpa said...

PTP , Agree with your comments.
I was particularly disturbed at the very harsh comments on Beadle pushed across on Twitter. She did her job well and what she was paid for (like you said the fun goofy stuff). She is just one part of the overall broadcast, but folks get so worked up and "offended", I don't get it.

For those that wanted hard hitting analysis, you got that with Randy Moss, Jerry Bailey and others.

Anonymous said...

Ms Beadle and her "Access Hollywood"-type ilk contribute ZERO to the telecast of a major sports event like the Derby. Notice I said "sports event." How many interruptions for fashionista coverage do you see during The Masters? Or cut-to's for interviewing celebs at the Indy 500? Call Kenny Mayne a buffoon all you want, but at least he knew horse racing and didn't talk down to his audience. Beadle actually said, on camera, that "Lines of Battle was a 32-1 favorite." I mean, really, come on!

Her addition to the Derby telecast only dumbed down a sport and that's fine if you're courting the Kegasus Krowd. Her ridiculous spots like throwing herself (in Haz-Mat garb) onto the quarantine barn fence and prattling on about fascinators don't make or keep new racing fans nor educate any demographic that tunes in.

Then, perhaps worse, she spent the next 2 days bashing race horse owners and knowledgeable racing fans on Twitter, whipping up her Twitter "followers" into a froth that included accusations of killing horses. She displayed no class and -- insiders say -- she ticked off more than a few trainers while on the backside setting up her "reportage."

How's this for making everyone happy: let's agree to move the fashion/celeb-doatage/hat stat coverage to a full half-hour or hour BEFORE the race telecast starts. They do this for the Oscars and Golden Globes, if you hadn't noticed. Let Michelle giggle and swoon as much as she wants, and then we can turn to what REALLY matters in horse race telecasting:

The horse race.

Anonymous said...

Anon, Where did she bash on twitter? I see no bashing from her on her twitter feed.... but maybe I am missing it somewhere.

Anonymous said...

A No talent-Affirmative action girl.Also,unattractive even with a half a pound of makeup



I was at my local racetrack(a dump I might add).
I'll take the dumpy racetrack over these Hollywood-Entertainment crowds any day.

Lenny said...

I can stomach the fluff pieces to some extent but what good is record viewership if few, if any of those people bet a dime on a race this year? NBC makes money, Churchill Downs makes money but the wagering pools don't increase by record numbers year to year.

In the first two hours of television coverage only one race was shown/mentioned other than the Derby. Why not show the replays of all the races run earlier on the card or at the very least the other stakes races?

The early Pick 4 paid $82,000. The second Pick 4 paid $42,000. Showing the once a year fans that you can win serious money betting the races is more likely to get them to the track than any fluff piece on a jockey, owner, trainer or horse.

kyle said...

Lenny,
Impossible to disagree with that observation. However, that would be admitting that gambling is going on in Casablanca. For some reason that appears to be a shameful fact to many people. That's why I can't muster any animous for the silly chicky. She simply is the latest veil they choose to use to obscure the true nature and appeal of the game.

Anonymous said...

You can't post any comments to anyone on this blog unless they are approved..especially towards a certain person hidden under anonymous..cause she will run to the blogger on twitter and ask for it to be removed.so this page is biased

Patti said...

Hello everyone:

I love PTP's blog and am a daily reader. I'm neither ashamed nor afraid to post here using my real name, EVER, regardless the subject. But I do not appreciate the aspersions and accusations thrown my way here in this particular comments section. Yes, I exchanged Tweets with Ms. Beadle over the weekend but I have nothing to do with the comment posted by "Anonymous" above. (Although I happen to agree with most of it.)

Thank you. That is all.

Anonymous said...

Patti, you posted the exact same things on Twitter yesterday/this morning as "Anonymous" did above. The tone/voice is the same as well. Furthermore, you have been deleting your nasty tweets to Beadle on Twitter.

Lori said...

I happen to agree with Anonymous May 6, 2013 at 5:08 PM above as well. This is for ratings only and demeans the sport in non racing people's eye. That is not how you get 'new' and 'younger' fans attracted. It's not a joke which is how she came across. Even on the twatter (twitter and spat) feed she 'looked down on the racing group' and laughed us for the most part. For now, she's getting a lot of attention which is what she likes so I for one, am not going to talk about it again but PTP, great post and blog!!

Patti said...

True, I deleted some of my recent Tweets because they no longer served a purpose. Time to move on, everyone.

We sure have a lot of comments on here from people who hide behind "anonymous."

Have a happy day!

Anonymous said...

If you don't agree with Patti or the blogger..dont expect your insightful and disputing comments to be published..poor Alan see what happen to that big mouth..exit stage left

Anonymous said...

Patti..whats your relationship the blogger?? How can I get in the horsey click?? I doubt I can since any non conforming comment won't get posted

Anonymous said...

i find it comedic that miss beadle is has 2 network shows and is proven a staple on t.v yet patti nor the blogger can get over there infatuation of her..i bet this is the most this blog has seen traffic wise since its inception.the horsey community must be in an uproar that a novice came in and stole their lil thunder

Pull the Pocket said...

This Beadle lady must be some kind of popular. She's beating Andy Beyer's portion of the piece by about 19 comments to zero.

Every comment I have received has been published. If one was missed, or deleted, someone must have my logins. Maybe Michele Beadle stole them!

PTP

Anonymous said...

no ptp your too worried on twitter looking to for people to jump on you and patti cakes bandwagon of hating on miss beadle..as stated above..this blog has more traffic in these few days then it will ever see..you should just blog about miss beadles shows daily you actually may get daily traffic here..you and patti /her anonymous postings can sit and try and pick her apart...lolllll..yet she will still have 2 shows and you will still have your twitter and blog ..miss beadle > patti/ptp awwwwz

Anonymous said...

Yet you continue to Beadle Bash on Twitter to this very minute. How is that moving on?

Pull the Pocket said...

Hello Mr. Anon,

It appears you have me mixed up with someone else. If you take time to read the above blog piece, I was impressed with Ms. Beadle's work and laid out a case why she was (and is) vital to ratings.

Cheers,

PTP

Anonymous said...

but yet your on twitter..saying oh that deserves an uber retweet when people put her down..are you tri polar?? or kidding yourself??

Pullthepocket ‏@Pullthepocket 2h
@alanLATG man that was worth a mega retweet
Expand Reply Retweet Favorite More

just the facts !!!

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi Mr Anon,

I retweeted Alan's tweet because I thought it was funny. He sometimes is kind of funny.

Cheers,

PTP

Anonymous said...

Hey ptp, I thought you only had trolls on twitter.

Anonymous said...

you should at least try and correct some one and give them insightful knowledge if you werent biased..am i right?? instead of trying to jump on the weak bandwagon..just my thoughts..if your going to sit on the fence do it correctly..you cant lean to either side or you fall off hahah

Anonymous said...

I agree with you.. we need all the help we can get bringing new interest to the sport!

I was wondering if you have an email address you would be willing to share with me so that I could send you an email. Obviously, I'm sure you wouldn't want to publish it here..

Pull the Pocket said...

Sure np. Its Pullthepocket at the gmail place.

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