ESPN & Twitter Forge A New, Old Idea

I remember back in the 1990's when I started to play most of my racing at home. Sharing handicapping and racing stories as the race went on was not like other sports (a lot of folks were using early non-html chat sites for sports back then), and it was a lonely pursuit. One day I found a racing chat board, and lo and behold, over time, there was a critical mass of people doing the same thing I did.

12 or 15 years later, twitter does the same thing that those chat boards did, but there are simply more eyeballs.

Today, ESPN and Twitter announced their branded sports partnership, centered around "#GameFace" for the NBA playoffs.

This is an old idea, that's a new idea.

As I wrote a couple of years ago, I believe eyeballs are the most important metric for any sport in the connected age. The spin-offs are there. You need critical mass, however, and with racing we've done a bad job with critical mass.  It's one of the reasons why I get pretty charged when a track hikes takeout rates, bans their races from youtube, hides PP's behind a paywall, and employs the "jump through hoops, squeeze the lemon" economics that we seem to practice.

When you scare off eyeballs, you lose more and more of the critical mass that you need to do business. We then reach a tipping point, it accelerates and its difficult to get back to where we were.

Major pro sports (today it was announced that the LPGA is putting twitter handles on the backs of caddies), are finding more and more ways to be innovative, to drive eyeballs.

Racing needs to shore up its eyeball-base first, which maybe will allow us to do the same thing.

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