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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Different Breed, Same Message

On the National HBPA blog yesterday, there was an opinion piece bemoaning how far horse racing has fallen in the public consciousness in the recent Harris Interactive Poll.  According to the writer, the biggest problem has been the marketing of thoroughbred racing, which is fractured at best.

Read this article and substitute harness racing wherever they talk about horse racing.  I wish I could tell you to substitute Harness Racing Communications where they talk about the NTRA but I can't; HRC does good work, but their mission has never been to provide national marketing nor provided a budget to even give them a chance to do so and to be honest, to even say everyone is going their own way on marketing is a stretch, unless you consider no marketing by some tracks going their own way.  The closest thing this industry does towards national marketing is the Hambletonian Society and the Meadowlands purchasing airtime to put the Hambletonian on television (it will be interesting to see if the Hambletonian even gets on television this year).

Some people will argue the USTA's Back to the Track event is our national marketing effort and have  complained about the event.  Well, unfortunately, the USTA is not the Federal Reseve so they can't print money to pay for a national campaign (well, realistically our campaign needs to be regional as there are only eighteen seventeen states with standardbred racing as it looks like we can write off Rockingham Park again this year).

Yesterday, Jeff Gural has challenged racino horsemen to dedicate 5% of their purse account towards advertising.  I am curious to see how many horsemen groups will agree to Gural's challenge (also curious to see if any racinos will use any of their advertising budget towards harness racing).  I'm even more curious to see how much of that money finds its way to the USTA/HRC for a marketing campaign. 

If not now, then when?

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