I’ll Give You Five Million Reasons

Ok, how about five million dollars? No, really. Five million dollars.  Tracks and OTB’s around the nation will be riding high on the visibility of March Madness. The Washington Post reports that March Madness costs the employers $1.2 billion for each hour of basketball televised. Now that’s pretty impressive unless you’re the boss paying all of to watch from our cubicles. But, I digress. I’m a big fan of racing reaching out to create player excitement. You can smile, shake hands, or give away a free cap. But in the end, it all boils down to, “how can you make my experience more fun?”

Thoroughbred racing is in a bit of stand still at the moment. Not on a global scale, but just here in the states. How about riding college basketball right into the national scene? Warren Buffett put out the golden carrot with the $1 billion NCAA Tournament prize for selecting a perfect bracket. That’s nice, and it’s great. The odds are only 1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808. You probably have a better chance at sprouting wings and taking flight with Elvis.

The Final Four kicks off on 4/4 this year. The state of Kentucky will be in the major  spotlight with U.K. located in the heart of horse country. One month later, the eyes of the sporting world will be locked on the Kentucky Derby. Players will have the opportunity to “select” the final four teams in the NCAA Tournament, and they are given the latest Derby future book runners heading for Louisville. You MUST select the correct final four teams playing, and the winner of the Kentucky Derby. Players love the opportunity to take a shot at the lottery for free.  Everyone is a winner, as the NTRA gathers information on real gamblers. Yep, 40 million people filled out brackets last year, and wagered over $9 billion according to vox.com. This info could be used to attract the attention of new and lapsed players. The on-line promotion will have purchased an insurance policy as with all mega contests, and now they’ll have real info to work with. Just think how cool it’s going to look every time you see the words $5 million in print ads, sports rags, and mentioned on every sports radio program. Racing could follow the lead of NASCAR and be cool in a hurry.

Could it be that easy? Nothing ever is, but it’s a huge leap forward riding on the coat tails of a winner. Just think, racing may find a new fan base overnight. Many think we have the secret sauce to what ails the game. I don’t think we can keep rolling out the old ideas and hoping for new results. What’s wrong with following the leaders? No need to reinvent the wheel as there are plenty of sports who have faced similar problems. It’s time to pony-up racing as the shot clock is ticking.