Tete a Tete

On Andrew Cohen's blog today he made reference that the USTA's marketing committee, and one of the USTA leaders, Phil Langley, responded:

"While there has been some questioning from some quarters about this committee (the newly-formed USTA Marketing Committee) not containing more people outside the industry, I don't get the point of the cricitism. Who should we be dealing with-- the marketers that General Motors and Ford use? The marketers that have Anheuser-Busch losing market share? Obviously, throwing money around isn't the answer...."
This is a remarkable series of sentences. Of course, Langley doesn't get the point of the criticism. That is the whole point of my criticism of him. The marketing model in our industry cleared has failed-- miserably. No rational person can dispute that after decades of decline. So it is absurd to declare that the same people who are responsible for the decline-- or who at least have demonstrated so far that they are unable to reverse it-- should be the ones to now lead us. Yet this seems to be is Langley's point-- no outsiders.

Mr Langley noting that Mr. Cohen "does not get it" has caused a little tete a tete on the blog, so check it out.

I believe Mr. Cohen is correct in many of his assertions. An inside group can not fix this sport. I would make it an impossibility.

I often go to a conference and come away thinking something can be done, but rarely anything happens, because the 'old way of doing things' seems to trump any new initiatives. NYRA spent millions, something like $30 million on the Go Baby Go campaign. It focused on racing being fun and 'come out to the track' and all that jazz - I think we have to be crazy to think that would work in a 500 channel, super-highway universe. Most initiatives stick to this specious concept.

This is a gambling game, it is not entertainment. Frankly it never has been entertainment. People in the 1940's came to gamble because there was nothing else to gamble on. Old marketing and old marketers will not save this sport. The USFL failed with massive marketing, major league soccer is hurting. On and on. We can not market this sport the old way. We must be new, fresh and we must promote the game of gambling. There is a half a trillion dollar gambling market out there just waiting for us.


Anonymous said...

It was partly entertainment in Toronto until the mid 70's. It was one of the only places to go on the weekends, and it was family friendly as well.
Then Toronto got a baseball team, and everyone but the racing industry figured out that it wasn't entertainment anymore.

Anonymous said...

While I agree racing is gambling, to ignore the entertainment value of the sport is foolish. There are some people, starting at the county fairs on up who enjoy racing as entertainment and decide to wager on it as well.

I think those who think of marketing it purely as gambling or purely as entertainment are wrong. You need to market to both markets otherwise you will not devlop a future market.

Anonymous said...

For those who aren't familiar with the old Ak-Sar-Ben racetrack in Nebraska try going to ak-sar-ben.com. Scroll down to 8-Newspaper Articles and look at some of the history of this great track and then go to 9- Guest Book and scroll down to the entry from John on "June 6th". If casinos and slots could kill this great place what do the majority of the tracks today have to offer for their survival?


Pull the Pocket said...

Very sharp find RG. Interesting articles to boot.


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