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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Goodbye Harnessphere, Hello Social Media

Goodbye old friend.  Harnessphere, the discussion board run by the USTA will see its last post sometime Friday afternoon as the USTA will be pulling the plug.

Why pull the plug now?  Quite frankly, Harnessphere represents old technology of about ten years ago and while the 'Sphere has served the USTA well, with the embracing of social media, the resources needed to operate the Sphere will be put to better use.

Let's face it, Harnessphere was for people already 'captured' by the harness racing bug.  With the social media initiative, not only will those already associated with harness racing be able to join in the conversation, the industry will be able to reach out and attract those who have never seen a horse race live.  Hopefully, by taking advantage of what social media can provide, harness racing will be able to grow its fan base and become stronger.

Some may wonder what exactly is this social media initiative the USTA is talking about?   If you go to last week's Eye on Harness Racing episode below, at the 2:15 mark there is an explanation of what they hope to accomplish.

Good bye Harnessphere, you had a good run but it is time to go.

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, with Penn National being shot down by Tewksbury voters, it is reported that Penn National Gaming is eyeing taking over ownership of Plainridge Racecourse (disclosure: the writer owns shares in Penn National Gaming).  While at this time it is a rumor, it makes logical sense as Penn National wants in the Massachusetts market.

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