Just A Thought…

by Ed Meyer

posted on July 23, 2009 in General Discussion | No Comments >>

Every sport has big time hoopla after the big score. The dunk in hoops, the spike and dancing in football, everyone gathering at home plate after a walkoff… Racing needs a little boost..

I think we should allow groups of fans to enter the paddock area, you know, the sacred place of saddling.. That is where all of the last minute preparation happens. Bring them up close. Let them get in the winner’s circle picture. Get them close to the game. Allow access to the velvet rope areas…

In Jai-Alai, you see the players all come out before a match and salute the crowd. What if you could sit in with about 10-15 folks and ask questions before the races? You know, “Who do you like today? What happened in race #7 yesterday? How do stay fit?”  The real business is getting close to the stars. I am sure the jocks would take part. After all, the player pays the freight.

Every day, have a tram take 20 or so patrons back to the backside for a tour. Have a farrier on hand, and a vet talking shop.. Let the people see the stories behind the scenes. I think they would love it…..

For every race, have a drawing for a dinner for two in the clubhouse. The players love to win.. Give away free program coupons to drawing winners. Make them feel special…. Truth be told, the patrons are the stars of the sport.. Have a “Wall of Fame” for players who hit big… Some won’t want to, but I bet many will want to be on the wall for the meet… Give away t-shirts, lunch with the president of the track, $5 voucher giveaways, hat giveaways, and how about having a greeter by every door, welcoming people into the track….You get the idea..

If you think it is hokey, then you missed the point. Treat people fair, and see how many they will tell. If they feel important, you have done more advertising than $20,000 in the newspaper.

I think as an industry, we can always learn from other sports. One of the best scenes ever, was when we drew out 10 names and they wore a vest with the number of a horse, as they rooted like crazy in the winner’s circle for a Caribbean trip… We can always do better, and what better time than now?