Pro Sports' Positioning is Never Unimportant & Racing is Learning that Lesson Now

Last night an NHL hockey game was being played, but a world-class diving competition broke out, when Stars' defencemen Esa Lindell dove not once, but three times in one span of play.



The memes on twitter were pretty hilarious, and hockey fans were none-too-impressed. One columnist wrote that Lindell should be suspended for his actions because this is worse for the sport than, say, a high stick, or boarding call.

That's not going to happen - especially since the Hockey Gods probably got him in the end when he fell rather easily on the game winning goal - but the writer doesn't make a bad point.

Jack Trout is a father of advertising, and his book Positioning is a long-time classic. In it, he describes how important it is to position your company or product in a consumers' mind. NHL hockey, like it or not, is positioned as a tough game in the consumers' mind, and it is their niche. It's always been that sport, and probably always will be. It's their position.

When a player turns into Flopsy McStagger, it eats away at that positioning. And that's no bueno from a marketing perspective. Make no mistake, the league 100% hated this event.

Racing, I feel, has this issue in droves. It's no secret that for years and years the safety of the horses was put on the backburner. No, it wasn't a plan, or wanted, and it was not condoned by the rank and file in the sport who truly love working with these majestic, wonderful animals, but it was reality. This sport was positioned as one which cared about purses, slots, government help, TV time, or a hundred other things.

This is why, when a PETA started making headlines, and racing (on social media especially) screamed "We love our horses, look!" it hasn't worked to move the needle one solitary inch. The sport is dealing from a position of weakness, because they never made horse welfare their position of strength.

In the coming years that will change. More and more we'll hear about safety and horse retirement and dozens of other pro-horse narratives because the public demands that in the modern world. Racing needs to position itself with that in mind and they don't need a Mckinsey to tell them what to do.


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