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The Wholistic Racing Experience

The "racing experience" and its importance to cultivate and satisfy customers is often spoken about. The ABR Live Bus, the bands, the bars and night club construction, filling up time between races with games or contests, are all things that tend to be universally praised. I don't think there's much wrong with this view, because you are trying your best, in a live setting, to get people to enjoy themselves, tell their friends and come back to the track at a later date.

On-track marketing and customer service is looked at 'wholistically'.

Meanwhile, over on the Internet, it's not embraced in nearly the same fashion.

One thing I like about DraftKings and FanDuel is that when you log in, you are taken to a world of fantasy sports betting. There are easy to use rosters, yes, but there are links in and about the site to news, real time stats, line-up help, proprietary statistics, and a way to socially engage. When you're in, there's really no reason to pop your head out. This top to bottom, A to Z, experience is paramount. It's one of the reasons FanDuel recently purchased sports analytics firm Numberfire.

In our sport there are some doing well in the Internet space, who have created some decent technology (Twinspires comes to mind), but it's nothing like DFS, or other websites that need to hold and engage users.

As O_Crunk noted on twitter, the "contest space" is getting hammered by some, but it's missing the big point. A seamless customer experience for horse racing on the web involves information, and conduits to enjoy a sport that fit with today's society. Betting horses on the web can be so much more.

Picture an interface with pari-mutuel on one side, an exchange with the same race on the other, and a contest screen with the same race in another box. Add a few more bells and whistles if you like - like DRF Live, or twitter, or figures, or Timeform - if data was more open, think of the angles that you could pop up in a live-stream.

With that type of vision, and 'wholistic' customer experience, if you don't like the third race, you can play your contest. If you don't like the 3-5 chalk, but hate everyone else - and it being a short field see no real exacta value - you can lay the chalk on the exchange. You can take the race off if you want, and peruse the real time news feeds and commentary.

That's the bettors food truck. That's the bettors band, ABR Live bus, or wiener dog race. That's what keeps people at their computer for ten hours on a Saturday watching racing. It's what keeps them downloading PP's. It keeps them engaged in your sport. It keeps them paying for purses. 

Unfortunately you're saying "Pocket, that's pie in the sky". It probably is, because racing does not have this vision, but for crying out loud, it's not 22nd century 12 Monkey's stuff. Exchange wagering is doable - it's been going on for twelve years and Betfair themselves have come to this sport with this vision in some form. Derby Wars is doable - hell, it exists already. Go to TwinspiresTV; their programmers aren't dumb by any stretch, so that's not an excuse.

Things like this could've been done ten or more years ago, but "racing" doesn't think like FanDuel, or DraftKings, or many other web-driven gambling enterprises.  Licensing and incorporating an exchange? No, we don't own every penny of it, so it must be destroyed. Licensing and incorporating Derby Wars? Of course not, we just saw a CHRB meeting where the braintrust wants it destroyed, too.

When you don't evolve, the customer base who uses technology (today, that's your average millennial and your 70 year old with an iPad) gets engaged with something else and they leave. It's not because they don't like horse racing, it's because they found something else that satisfies their needs and keeps them interested.


Comments

Sal Carcia said…
Great idea! I'll say it again. Great idea!

I keep thinking that the tracks should get out of the gambling business. They should just open it up to as many options as possible. I have no particular solution as to how it would work. Maybe, they should charge a fee and let the market companies fight it out. I am fascinated with the concept of a betting market.

Once out of the gambling end, the tracks could get back to making the track an fun place to visit with fine amenities, a great show and comfortable place for the customers to play the market.