Things Are Tough All Over

by Ed Meyer

posted on December 29, 2008 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

We’re mucked and mired in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Housing, banks, retailers, auto makers and candlestick makers. You name the industry and it’s probably feeling at least a pinch from this global economic downturn.

And sports, obviously, have not been immune.

The Arena Football League is taking at least a year off, and NASCAR is scuffling as sponsorships begin to dry up, resulting in ownership consolidations and job eliminations.

The National Football League and Major League Baseball have or plan to lay off people as well, and have been looking at ways to cut spending.

Except for the New York Yankees. They seem to have a force field around them as far as feeling the effects of this economic mess that most of the rest of us are experiencing.

Anyway, horse racing is feeling the effects as well.

Recent horse sales saw spending go down, with median price averages falling. Many breeding operations are dropping their stallion fees for 2009, citing the economy.

The industry was struggling in many places before things got really bad, and now in some places, things are very, very bad.

Some tracks are cutting back on purses and/or eliminating stakes races.

The Breeders’ Cup was going to eliminate funding the stakes races it sponsors at tracks all across the land, until it felt the outrage that decision created, and did an about face.

However, that organization is going to make dramatic cutbacks in spending on its 2009 marketing campaigns, according to a story I read.

I’m sure at some point we will see a corporate sponsor pull its name from a major race because it needs to look at its spending.

It’s got to happen.

With times as tough as they are, the amount of money being wagered on races is already decreasing and probably will continue.

Purses at every track are tied to handle, in some degree, and of course there are tracks that are getting a huge influx of cash from slot machine revenues.

My guess is people aren’t throwing as much cash into slot machines these days, either.