Wake Up Call #148

The Meadowlands Pace served up a message. No, not only the one that said there is another 3YO World Champion in the mix – a more important one. It said loudly and clearly to the people who run harness racing – this game needs a complete overhaul.

Thanks to Kevin on Harnessdriver.com on Saturday, this piece of news:

The handle [for the Meadowlands Pace card] was the second lowest in 11 years (2007 being the lowest). And, the attendance was the lowest ever.

If we listen to some in harness racing we often hear romantic assertions about the game. We hear things like, “if only we had a superstar, fans would come back to racing.” Well with stories on major networks, print coverage in the New York Times, New York Daily News and others on the super-horse, the people did not come out. They did not bet.

I sincerely hope we remember messages like this, that we have seen innumerable times over the last several years. Maybe this one will resonate that the game is completely broken. Until we attack what is wrong with racing (e.g. poor delivery mechanisms, monopolist laws, ridiculous takeouts/regulation of takeout etc) and avoid red herrings, we will get nowhere.


Anonymous said...

Wagering down at the Meadowlands? Well its down at every harness track in Ontario!!

Quebec has it right. Pull the plug on all gov't subsidies to a sport bettors have abandoned.

Lets face it, harness racing in Ontario is a major recipient of gov't funding. The industry calls it slot-revenue. but Of course fundamentally its welfare in a not so subtle disguise.

Its time the gov't stopped supporting a dying industry, one that bettors have abandoned. and used the slot-revenue for more socially productive purposes. Why is the gov't enriching horsemen, and only horsemen?

Anonymous said...

Horsemen need to help improve the game, especially for those who like slots for the simplicity.

Return to the old classified system FFA, JFA, A-1 through C-3. Anyone call look at a program and see who is moving up or moving down. Conditions can be so confusing that the avergage slot player will look at the program once and run away screaming.

Yes, the Pick 4-5 and 6 can pay huge amoutns but realistically how many combinations do you need to hit these bets? Bring back simple exotics such as the quinellas. True you are not going to get rich hitting one of these but you can at least offer the novice a chance to win more than a win bet with a simple bet.

Before you say no, we need the heavy hitters in the game. Don't heavy hitters start as novices?

Also, cut times between races. Yes, I know you are trying to allow people to play multiple tracks but a lot of people, again those casual players, are only playing one track. To drag a 12 race program out four hours is foolish. Start at 7:30 and be done by 10:00 or 10:20.

Pull the Pocket said...

Getting new people interested is certainly something that is confounding. And hard.

No one will know if your ideas are good or not because we do not do enough research. Who's to say?

Most of my stuff is about the $500B-$1 trillion dollar skill game market (sports betting, poker etc) that is out there. Grab 5 out of 1000 of those players and turn them into harness players we might up handles by 25%.

Like I said, who's to say? Whatever the case, what we are doing is clearly nort working.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the posters at tracks. De La Hoya vs Trinidad (or whoever) live Saturday Night. At the time they are hyping the fight as the greatest ever. If tracks had hyped SBSW vs the world record would people have shown up? Stayed over from the days races? Would they be anticipating a SBSW-AO rematch? Maybe a hot dog eating contest would pull in some people?


Anonymous said...

Please, don't give the marketing clowns at racetracks anymore stupid ideas. They have already tried pony rides and face painters. Please no hotdogs!


Carryovers Provide Big Reach and an Immediate Return

Sinking marketing money directly into the horseplayer by seeding pools is effective, in both theory and practice In Ontario and elsewher...