Yesterday we wrote about television, and racing big events, in the context of the big past weekend in racing. It's clearly not enough for racing to just be on TV.
Case in point, this tweet a couple of minutes ago:
Before ESPN coverage, NCAA tournament action was chump change.Many games not shown or on tape delay.Bookies used to take vacations in March!
— Roxy Roxborough (@RoxyLasVegas) March 10, 2014
It's not enough to have something interesting - like a college basketball tournament. It has to be interesting, in a whole different context.
NFL games are fun and have always been. The fact we can bet them, pick office pools, or field fantasty football teams makes them compelling.
The World Junior Hockey Championships are a huge success in Canada. It went from a tournament no one watches - most never even heard of - to a Holiday winter TV staple with millions upon millions of viewers. TSN (Canada's ESPN) made it so.
The X Games was a "new Olympics, without the stodgy stuff". It created a legion of young television sports watchers and doers.
There clearly are other examples.
In racing, the Triple Crown is "compelling". It's been around for a long time, has a storied history. Three races in a month and a half, starting with a race in Kentucky will do that.
What's "compelling" about the rest of the year? It's not compelling enough to drive a TV audience, so far at least. With lotteries, or betting, or something tangential, to go hand in hand with an event, or series of events, it **might** make things compelling enough, but who knows.
It's not like it's easy. Golf tries the same thing outside the Majors. The Match Play championship was created, as was the FedEx Cup. So far, it's been a bit of a blah.
What can racing create that's compelling enough to be cross marketed, cross branded, and create some buzz? What can be March-madnessed, or Junior-hockeyed into this sport? That's probably the million dollar question. If it's answered, non-Triple Crown racing might have a chance on the tube.