Monday, April 8, 2013

.44 Magnum's, Slots Talk & Some Florida Derby TV Rating Numbers

Good morning racing fans. Here are a few thoughts on what caught my eye this morning.

Techcrunch had an article up about start-ups and the need for them to be disruptive to succeed in a big way. 
  •  Time and again I see pitches from companies that want to create, what in effect is a widget. An application. Something which simply extends an existing ecosystem, or tinkers around the edges. For instance, if I have to see another startup which wants to ‘aggregate travel experiences’ I will gnaw my right leg off. [What you need to do is] You build the biggest handgun you can (in the real world this would equate to a .44 Magnum). You then hold it to the metaphorical head of the largest industry you can find (telecoms, music, media). You then say: “Do you feel lucky, punk?”
Major disruptions that have occurred in gambling - like betting exchanges and online poker - were a .44. In racing, this is pretty impossible to do, mainly because (in my opinion) not only does it not think like a start-up,  the roadblocks (Interstate Horse Racing Act, alphabet soup) are formidable.

The result is what we've been seeing for years in way of change - a couple of races off lasix for the Breeders Cup, or a Rainbow 6 or low takeout pick 5."Tinkers".

Speaking of the Rainbow Six, Lenny had a post up about mandatory payout day being "No Pot of Gold". He makes a lot of good points, but I think mandatory payout day was never about a big jackpot. If they wanted to make it so, they'd have to change the rules, e.g. make it a ten cent pick 8, up the minimum to $2. In the end the pick 6 paid about 10X parlay, with so many going so deep. As we see with a lot of low increment bets, it's become better to hammer some chalk and get value that way.

When people are passionate about something to the point of anger, it is very hard to have a rational conversation, even if they're the most level-headed people at virtually all other times. In Ontario it's been difficult in some quarters the last 13 months.

I remember when @gatetowire popped over to Standardbred Canada and left a simple comment about the industry having to be more customer oriented now that slots are over (fix the product, etc). Despite posting nothing that would in the least be considered controversial, he got brandished as a "Liberal government plant".  That's probably news to him, since he lives in the U.S. an doesn't work for any government.

At the risk of getting called a government plant, I link today's Snobelen column:
  •  The best place to put the past is behind you.While this may seem obvious, it is also evident that people have a difficult time ending things. That’s why, in relationships and careers, people often get stuck in their pasts. Whole industries sometimes have difficulty leaving the past behind. As a member of the government’s horse racing industry transition panel I have spent much of the last year encouraging horse people to build a better future. But there has been a major hurdle to get over — the past.

I think it's good advice.

Ontario racing has been led by three distinct narratives the last 13 months: i) Let's move forward with what's offered, because the status-quo has left the building. ii) Let's fight for more because this government plan sucks iii) We need slots back (the "way it was").

I think iii) is long gone. So we're left with i) and ii). The bottom line for many, and I think they're probably correct: The government will play a major role in whether horse racing sinks or swims. They need to be a huge partner from here on forward. Continuing to work together with bold new ideas is probably preferred, because the alternatives (racing for ribbons at a track near me and you) are much worse.

TV Ratings for the Florida Derby are in, showing 174,000 people watched the NBC Sports telecast. Is that good or bad? I guess it depends on how you look at them. I remember several years ago the Spiral Stakes got about 200k viewers on the main NBC Network, so near that on NBC Sports might not be bad. And it was 9th rated on the network. However, racing is spending a lot of money to NBC to show prep races, and it can be argued a great many of these viewers are like me and you; we'd watch the races online, or on TVG or HRTV without the NBC deal. Is it money well spent? Time will tell I guess.

Have a great Monday everyone.


Heidi E. Carpenter said...

I'd be equally happy watching the big races on TVG/HRTV. The only real differences between those channels and NBC Sports are sappy stories and high definition television.

Sal Carcia said...

I think the Rainbow P6 is an outstanding innovation for the game. Judging from the significant increases in GP handle over last year, I don 't believe that some of the negative opinons floating around about this bet have any validity. The bet is drawing more fans to the game. Isn't that what the game is aiming for?

The .44 Magnum the game is looking for staring us right in the face. The Random Number Generator based on a database of previously run races can easily be classified in the category of parimutuel wagering. And because parimutuel wagering is legal online then horseracing could potentially offer all forms of online casino gambling based of the horseracing RNG.

Anonymous said...

Last Friday felt like a Saturday.There was a lot of buzz at my local race track last friday about the last day 10c pick 6 payout($2 million + $5.3 million).unfortunately we had 5 of 6 like most.

As soon as every track in the country follows gulfstream's example of a pk-5 and 10c pk-6 the sooner horseracing will get more attention.

With the carryover at the end of every meet you would create a real buzz.

GULF,AQ,BEL,SAR,SA,DELMAR,Church,Mon,Keen,ARL,HAW,TURF,Tampa etc..There would be 3,5 or 7 million at the end of each meet with another $10 to $20 million gambled the last day with NO TAKEOUT+!

I guess some people think the grandslam bet will bring people to the track.Haha!

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