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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Racing Needs to (sort of) Forget the Older Generation

I read a leading consumer magazine this morning and I realized something, while I am not that old (51 years), when it comes to technology, I am a senior citizen.  I know all about "the cloud" but I rather have the song on my computer if for nothing else a feeling of comfort.  I was so excited this year when I went to a 3G phone while everyone else went to 4G.  Just two months ago I finally started 'texting' (by the way, start texting and you may 'hear' from your younger family members more often).   Apps?  I use programs.  While I finally did go to HDTV, my televisions are basic.  Now after reading this magazine and watching television, I find out that televisions are going to be fully Internet capable making blue ray obsolete.  Buy a 3D television because it's not that expensive and it has gotten better.  Cd's, please don't make me laugh.  DVDs, by the end of this decade they will be history and you won't find a DVD player available. Books?  You can now go to some libraries and check-out an e-book for your reader.   My computer, while only two years old, apparently is destined for the Smithsonian.  Tablets are in, but in the interim as PCs become obsolete, Windows 8 is coming out next year which will allow you to use your computer with touchscreen gadgets so buy a computer with touchscreens.

I laughed when I bought a new cell phone for my mother.  I told the sales person, it needs to dial and pick up calls and nothing else, so we got the most basic phone they had (I'm pretty sure they blew the dust off the box).  Now I realize, while I may not be a true senior citizen, with regards to technology, I am an old geezer. I pity the person who one day is going to show me a 4G phone and apps; at least I will eventually get there, but for how many more years will I adapt to advance technology before it is beyond my reach?  Remember the show Petticoat Junction?  Call me Uncle Joe.

All I can say to the Meadowlands' teller's union is stop the fight and take the 20% pay cut.  I understand you don't like it but you are like the New York City typesetters working on newspapers; there are none.  If you can keep your job with people losing them through attrition count your blessings because within ten years there will be no or very few tellers at racetracks.

I finally get it.  While I still contend we need to improve the game and make changes on the track, there is a time when racetracks are going to have to cast off people like me (older people, people who don't adapt to new technology easily).  I don't mean cast us off as totalling forgetting about us, but we are the people you will still need racetracks for and have the six or ten tellers available, but don' waste expending capital resources on people like me; the younger generation or those more adept at technology won't be going to the track unless it is a special event and when they are there, they are not going to be using tellers; they are going to be using their 4G (maybe 5G) phone and use an application to wager on the races.  This is why the Meadowlands is smart to shrink their track.  OTWs are going to be places for day trips for us geezers.

The smartest move a racetrack can make is hire some thirty year old as your technology chief.  Televising your races?  Forget about it.  You need to get your racing show on the Internet, live.  The full show with your on track handicappers where it can be shown on a person's smart phone or their Internet capable television.  Develop applications for their phones to make their wagers, for those a little bit behind, develop a wagering system for Windows 8 touch screen system so people can use their computers (while they are around) as if it it was a self service tote machine.  Have your own self betting app and if you want to join ADWs, add your Internet signal to their applications.  Afraid your Internet show is going to be used for wagering off shore, scramble the Internet show and put something in your applications which unscrambles the signal and when the person's account has a zero balance for a period of time, revoke the application so the signal is no longer available.  Have an application which will let you wagering into wagering exchanges so you can get your fixed odds wagers and wagering during the race.

The key to the future of racing is not just improving the product, but the presentation.  If we attempt to present racing via the technology we currently have (sorry TVG), the younger generation is not going to touch it.  Deliver racing in the technology they use, they will get attracted to it like a fly to a flame.

There may be hope for me.  After I read that magazine, I realized what an old fart I am when it comes to technology.  As long as I realize and adapt to it, I can stay in the game.  When I say, who needs all that stuff, then I am going to find myself housebound expect for those trips to the tracks.  Instead of serving hot dogs, can you make it a creamed chicken and escort me to the section of the track dedicated to us technology deficient people and let the youngsters stay elsewhere?

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