Harness The Horse Power

by Ed Meyer

posted on November 11, 2008 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

In six of eight years we have horses that won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, and didn’t win the Belmont.

The Triple Crown has had world class sponsors such as Visa. They jumped into the game for a 10-year run. There is nothing like the excitement of racing to get your blood pumping. But after the cold run at the Triple Crown, it came down to a business decision.

Branding Guru David Aker has cited five other brands that have energized themselves back to the top again: 1) The Memphis Railbirds minor league baseball team, 2) the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 3) PGA Tour Golf, 4) Harley Davidson, and 5) Avon cosmetics.

All of those brands used one of two methods: energizing the brand itself, or finding something with energy that is interesting and involving, and attaching it to the brand. “Both are very powerful,” according to Aker.

With racing, there is a built in energy that flows on its own. All you need to do is harness the power to a particular direction and run with it. Here are a few ideas to ponder:

Racing needs to be the lead dog in eradicating performance drugs from our sport. Don’t wait until an agency or panel discusses what you should do. Just get it done. It will gain the belief of the public, and let the fans know we police our own sport for integrity and safety. All performance enhancing drugs have to be eliminated. There are drugs that are akin to over-the-counter varieties. They can stay as long as they are policed, and found to have NO enhancing qualities.

Thoroughbred racing has to set aside a small amount of revenue from each track. This could come in the form of uncashed tickets, donations and fundraisers. With this money, we set up places for retired runners. Not only do we keep them open, we open new facilities to the public. This creates interest, jobs and will put to bed the idea of abuse in our sport.

So, we have taken care of the drug issue and have a charity. Now we need to focus on enhancing the customer experience. Allow players to have scheduled visits to the paddock, make stars out of winning fans (with their approval) and get them into the game by having monthly drawings for owning portions of a racehorse. What better fun than to be in on the game?