Racing Has Little Evolvement in a Society That Expects It

The A and W bear
A & W, for those who may not know, is a burger chain that's been around forever. In my hometown it was there long before we had a McDonald's. It was situated on the highway in a drive-in setting - y'know where the waiters and waitresses would come out to the car and put a tray on your window. It really wasn't a bad burger joint.

Last week I went to the new and improved (so they tell me) A & W, which is supposedly making a big comeback.

In high school I would order a two patty "Papa Burger" if I was hungry, and this time I did the same. Holy firecrackers. This new papa burger was huge enough for six papa's who play lineman for the New York Giants. I ate it all, and my brain told me I just consumed a side of beef.

What's that have to do with racing? In a roundabout way, I think a lot.

Anthony MacDonald - a winning driver and could be racing activist - wrote a blog on SC today asking a for a few things from racing. He believes racing must be recreated from the ground up with the customer in mind. He offers a couple suggestions:
  •  We must have competitive races going on the track at every facility, big or small, at all times in Ontario.
  •  We will need to modernize the way we collect entries and what we do with them. By pooling our entries we can build competitive races easily . By putting a Director of Racing in charge, with a 24-48 hour window with all communication tools at his or her disposal, this task is now doable. We need to recognize this is paramount to our survival. We need tracks to coordinate and work together to improve our product and fan experience level. 
I think Anthony is certainly on the right track, and because it is coming from a horseman, it carries some weight with the masses.

Similar was suggested awhile back in the Racing Development and Sustainability Plan, that was rejected. Too costly, no business plan etc (ironically with $345M a year in slots).Similar is suggested on a daily basis, whether at Beulah or other tracks with small field size. 

Really, this type of thought in some form has been suggested since I was buying A & W as a kid and eating my papa burger. Nothing ever seems to happen, even with this one little thing: "Putting on a race that people might want to bet on."

Today's society wants more for less. Burger sizes and portion sizes are through the roof. Network TV spends millions more a year to produce content because the cable networks are coming after them. Hotels and casinos are aggressive in pricing. Movies have taken production value into the stratosphere. Gambling companies like Betfair have changed the way people bet, and expect to bet forever.

Racing? We're talking about the same thing we talked about 35 years ago. We aren't giving more for less; in fact in some cases we're giving less for more like another serving of a five horse field in California with a takeout hike attached.

I don't think it's a great mystery why we've lost so much market share. We're not serving bigger burgers to a world which demands them, and in some cases we're selling smaller portion sizes for more. Be honest with yourself: Would you shop at any store, or patronize any establishment who is doing that in 2013?

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