If one thing is clear, it is the Meadowlands brand name has been severely sullied. A year of virtually no advertising locally and nationally, uncertainty of their status (they have lived and died so many times it was hard to keep track), stop and go racing, less racing dates, and inferior racing when compared to prior meets has irreparably harmed the brand name. Sure, those in the industry know the Meadowlands and its importance to the industry but to those who matter, the horseplayer and potential new customers, the Meadowlands no longer stands out on its own and is just another racetrack. Something must be done to reinvigorate the brand name.
Once the Gural group officially becomes the lessee of the Meadowlands (things are still be held up by the thoroughbred people but I expect it to be finalized this week), it will be time to re-brand the Meadowlands as soon as possible to show not only new management is in place, but a whole new philosophy towards the racing customer experience at the Big M is in place as well. A new logo branding the Meadowlands as a standardbred track needs to be introduced as soon as practical. While the ownership of the Meadowlands will not be identical to Tioga and Vernon Downs, Jeff Gural and his team will be in the driver’s seat so it is appropriate that the advertising shows the connection to their existing properties and get the word out throughout the gambling marketplace that the Meadowlands is back and the customer is number one.
I would suggest initially keeping the Meadowlands name, but change the logo so it is similar to the Tioga Downs logo and it be used in all advertising and kick-off campaign. Picture the Tioga Downs logo and replace "Tioga Downs Racing" with "Meadowlands Racing" and lose the part that says "Casino and Entertainment" (you may want to click on the Tioga/Vernon Downs calendar to the left to get a good look at the logo I suggest be used as a model). Then, once the new grandstand opens, modify the logo once again so the Meadowlands name is changed to "Meadowlands Downs" and under the Racing part of the logo, put "and Entertainment Center" to re-emphasize the fact entertainment is a big component of the racetrack experience.
Of course, re-branding does no good unless you live up to the promise you are presenting. Fortunately, knowing Jeff Gural, that promise will be lived up to. Short of having a casino, the Meadowlands (or Meadowlands Downs) will become the preeminent racing and entertainment destination in the North American racing world.