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Friday, June 29, 2012

Meadowlands Progress Report

Talk about the Meadowlands fall from grace is greatly exaggerated. Need proof of this? Let's take a look at the Meadowlands' key numbers year to year through the first 57 days of the 2011 and 2012 meetings:

Live Racing Attendance  On-track Wagering Meadowlands Races
2011 2012 2011 2012
136,155 153,976 $14,760,910 $17,332,056
Increase 13.10% Increase 17.40%
 Export Wagering Meadowlands Races  All Source Wagering  Meadowlands Races
2011 2012 2011 2012
$103,738,392 $108,623,179 $118,499,302 $125,955,220
Increase 4.70% Increase 6.30%

As I discussed in a previous post, the past is the past, but if you compare the first 57 dates under the New Meadowlands LLC management compared to the first 57 dates of 2011 which were under the management of the NJSEA, notice the increases. Name me another American track that has seen an attendance increase of 13% or on-track wagering on their live races of over 17%.

In addition to these figures, you will see the Meadowlands export signal increased, albeit at a slower rate (4.7%), resulting in an overall handle increase of 6.3%. It is true to the gambler handle is handle and bigger pools are always more attractive for wagering, but with regards to benefiting the track's bottom line and the horsemen's purse account, the export signal handle would have had to increase 116% just to equal the benefit the on-track handle increase achieved, plus on-track wagering increase contributes to programs such as the NJSS and breeder awards while the export signal contributes nothing to these other programs. Of course, you want on-track and export wagering to grow as much as possible, but as you see, there is a valid reason in attempting to maximize on-track wagering.

Is the Meadowlands doing that bad? I think they are making good progress and moving in the right direction.  If you need proof of this, name another track which releases its daily attendance and total handle figures without having to pry those figures from track management. No, the purses aren't as big as some racino tracks, but what would those racino horsemen be racing for if not for slot subsidies? 

Detractors need to take a reality check.


Anonymous said...

It's hard to compare statistics from year-to-year without taking into account all the circumstances.

Regarding attendance, it's basically an irrelevant figure. You can have all the camel races in the world, if the people aren't betting the REAL races, what does it matter! So let's skip right to the handle figures:

It looks like overall handle increased about $5M or roughly 6% over the first 57 "comparable" dates..but are those dates truly "comparable"? In 2011, much of the country saw one of the worst winters in recent history; that no doubt kept folks away from their local tracks and simulcast facilities. Handle was accordingly down EVEYWHERE! Fast forward to 2012 which produced one of the MILDEST winters in modern memory; handle was up in MANY places, some even more substantially than at The Meadowlands! Furthermore, the "first 57" days of 2012 aren't even the same (calendar-wise) as 2011 so perhaps they were more "favorable" this year".

In a nutshell, you can't compare apples to oranges (or in this case, snowfall to sunshine) and expect to garner any meaningful results.

Pacingguy said...

I agree we are mixing apples and oranges here, but just the same, with racing only occuring two days a week during a good part of the meet, it is easy to forget about the Meadowlands and wager on other tracks.

No, the schedule wasn't exactly the same as last year, but remember the Meadowlands raced only 81 days last year so the schedule wasn't as different as some people may think.

However, being the Meadowlands has been trending down even before the bad winter of 2011, the fact it is up is a good sign.