Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Positive That's Not a Positive, Converting Customers (Like a Restaurant?)

The big news out of Golf the last day or two has been about Scott Stallings. The 30 year old tour pro was feeling a wee bit out of sorts last year, so his doctor prescribed a supplement for him. The drug contained something that was on the PGA Tour banned list, unbeknownst to him. He was tested, and the test came back clean. However, as he dug into things a little deeper, he noticed the drug was on the banned list, and called a drug positive on himself. The Tour gave him a three month suspension.

Golf pros are independent contractors, just like a horse trainer.

I am not hang 'em high, hang 'em higher when it comes to inadvertent positives and overages in horse racing. However, when a trainer does get an overage or make a mistake, it is a mistake that has consequences. Running to the press to say I didn't do anything wrong, or appealing endlessly when a mistake is made is the polar opposite of Scott Stallings.

As much of a problem some might have with this, the policy probably does the job it intends to do. Other Tour pros see Stallings with an "overage" and it makes them vigilant regarding substances like this. I saw a doctor interviewed on Golf Channel, and he said he tells all his players to call him first if they are taking anything at all - even a cough drop.

Horse racing policy of "trainer responsibility" does similar. Some people, with four, five, six, or eleven overages should not be protected, they need to be fined and suspended, because they, like PGA Tour pros who get nabbed, are not doing a good enough job with their stable management.

Regardless, the chasm between the culture of golf and the culture of racing is pretty stark in the Stallings case.

OK, you hold a big promotion for your restaurant by paying big money to field a food truck at a Super Bowl tailgate in Jacksonville. You're giving away $1 burgers and 9,000 people eat your fare. They love it, they want to tell friends how good your burger was, they pop and twitter and write about those juicy burgers. Local news covers the story.

But, your restaurant is not down the road, it's in Chile.

The chances of some of those 9,000 customers coming to visit you are nil. Local news is no help.

In the TDN today, the ability of soccer to convert customers who watch an event (in this case, the 1994 World Cup held in the US), into paying consumers of future events, was looked at, and it's pretty remarkable.  That view was juxtaposed with what racing is doing to convert the 20 or so million people who watch the Triple Crown every year. Can it do something to serve new customers seamlessly?

Have a great day everyone.


Ron said...

World cup soccer is similar to a big ppv fight. There are so many viewing parties, that the numbers are probably under inflated. I watched the U.S.. give Japan the beat down with 15 people.

Anonymous said...

Re: Drug tests
In the case of NYRA testing, trainers that understand the cozy relationship between the lab and the people at the top of the racing food chain should and do often feel that they are being wrongfully thrown under the bus. That said, no trainer has ever successfully had a false positive beaten in the NY courts. You absolutely won't beat City Hall.

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