Posts Tagged ‘USTA’

Following my last blog about marketing harness racing to a wider market, Harness Racing Update has another interesting article in its 19 April issue (at http://www.harnessracingupdate.com).

“The USTA has decided not to make a financial contribution to Jeff Gural’s efforts to put a select group of harness races on national television, a major blow to the proposed series.Gural had secured air time on the CBS Sports Network for¬†several races, including the Little Brown Jug, the Meadowlands Pace and the June 28 stakes-laden card atPocono Downs.
Eventually, his plan was boiled down to include just the Meadowlands Pace and the Little Brown Jug and he asked the USTA to put up $75,000 to help cover the payments to the network.”

UTSA voted 13/1 against putting money in, as they felt the proposal unfairly advantaged just two race tracks. Read the full article here.

What they appear to miss is that mainstream audiences are only going to be interested in the top races, not some equitable spread of meetings. Which is why in New Zealand, mainstream TV sometimes gives coverage to the Melbourne Cup or (if we are really lucky) the NZ Trotting Cup. It’s news-worthy.

It’s also the thin edge of the wedge. And that’s a wedge we need to hammer further in with some clearly thought out strategies and sponsorships. Other sports get a round-up in the main TV news every day, but horse racing never gets a “best race finish of the day/week” or even a mention of Derby, Oaks, major cup winners.

We have to ask ourselves why not. I think one answer is that we cannot decide what we are – a sport, an industry, an entertainment. And if we don’t know, it’s harder to mainstream programmers and news producers to understand where reporting on horse racing fits into their schedules.

I’ll discuss this in a future blog – our identity crisis. It is at the centre of a lot of our problems.


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