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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Who Said This?

Who said the following comments?  They all were said by the same individual.

“I have seen a lot of sport over my career but I’ve never seen a sports industry that is so fragmented”.
“They have to work together. There is not a lot of ‘team’ going on here. It’s all about individuals and individual concerns. But you don’t save an industry by saving your own skin".
“We challenge the industry to work more collaboratively than ever before because, if the same destructive behaviors we have heard about throughout this review persist, then this puts the industry at grave risk at a time when it may be at its weakest.”

You could probably think of several people who may have said this, but truth is while these comments could describe the American (and arguably the Canadian) harness racing industry, these comments were not made by an American, these are the words of Brian Cunningham, the leading administrator for Harness Racing SA (South Australia) in describing the situation facing the industry in his part of the world.
It goes to show you different areas have similar problems.  Whether America, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, .... well, you get the idea.  All areas which have problems with harness racing.  It also makes sense the solutions are probably similar if not the same.  So what are the proposed solutions? 
Cunningham  came up with some recommendations such as having all the tracks fall in line and follow the direction of the governing body (with HRSA having more power than they currently do).  We can go through all the recommendations but this is something you can do at your own leisure.

Yes, racing in the United States is legally framed differently than in Australia, but with some work, we can get close to proposals in the South Australian report.
The point is, there comes a time when horsemen, tracks, and breeders have to give up their provincialism and accept the fact each segment of the industry depends on the other for success; it is time to think in terms of 'we', not 'me'.  
I am not suggesting the USTA commission another study; they have already generated Zielinski Report 1 and the sequel, Zielinski Report #2.  You can see how the recommendations were carried out; very little.  I suggest those in the American harness racing industry read the Australian report and see what parts are applicable (or can be made to be applicable) to the American market.  I suspect a good part of the report applies.  We just need each segment of the industry to have their visionaries work together.

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