May 16, 2018 at 10:53 #1353990
But, you will find that these are always big race days. Be it a Saturday or a mid-week festival day. A meeting that will capture the interest of non-racing folk who may fancy attending for the day out
The terrific marketing initiative of shifting the mid-week festivals towards and into the weekends has increased footfall but diminished the sport
Musidora day will be as sweet and genteel as it ever was today but Yorkshire Cup day on Friday won’t be
Oh for my Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays of youth
Quality midweek sport when there’s little other competition is/was/should be racing’s USP
The number of those enslaved by the traditional working week of ‘office hours’ 9-5 Monday-Friday is declining and the number of retirees with significant disposable income increasing
Market the sport at this growing happy band who ponder ‘what is a weekend?’May 16, 2018 at 12:03 #1354005
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“I know a large amount of profit at racecourses comes from the sale of alcohol but I have to confess I really am at a loss as to why anyone needs alcohol when they go racing.
Is the product on offer so poor it cannot be savoured or enjoyed without those attending having to consume alcohol – if the answer is yes then racing has a fundamental problem.
They may sound naive questions but I really do struggle to understand the attraction of alcohol and peoples dependency on it.”
It’s not necessarily that the product is poor it’s that there is so little of it. Take York as an example today. If you arrived on course three quarters of an hour before racing you would be on course for a little over 4 hours and yet see only about 12 minutes of sport. It’s therefore not surprising that some like to while away the spare time by visiting the bar. When I go racing I like to think I have the choice of having an alcoholic beverage just as I would if I went to watch the football, rugby, cricket or whatever. Rightly or wrongly the modern world craves for constant activity and for racecourses to attract the increased crowds and the money that goes with that then they are offering non-racing activities such as your music after racing and family enclosures with bouncy castles etc. The actual racing is becoming a part of a package. I’m a racing fan and go to the racecourse to see the racing. I enjoy a day out with my old man, we have a couple of drinks and a bet but take both of those away and I’m not sure if I was Joe Public looking for an afternoons entertainment I would bother spending 4-5 hours of my time to see 12 minutes of sport without there being another incentive to go. My wife sometimes goes to Royal Ascot but she goes for the social occasion, dressing up, champagne lunch etc. The horse racing is secondary and this is what I believe is the attitude of a large number of racegoers who are on course for a day out. Take all that away and they would be spending their leisure pounds somewhere else. As is usual it is a tiny majority that are causing a problem but that is not just a racing problem that’s society in general. It’s how that tiny majority are dealt with that is the issue and it seems racecourses need to take note of what people like Barry Hearn are saying if they want to keep or increase their share of the leisure pound.May 16, 2018 at 13:59 #1354014
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Top post , Aaron.
I can’t agree that racing should be targeting the retired Drone, racing already caters for this group it’s the young and family’s that need better targeted.
Kevin Blake has written a brilliant blog on this subject (not sure if the link will work, my work has blocked ATR) –May 16, 2018 at 18:52 #1354029
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I’ve watched the footage and it’s terrible. More windmills than Old Amsterdam. Barry Hearn is right, what the courses need is more Security. I would describe the guys working the event in the video as Stewards rather than Security.
I worked as a door supervisor in my Uni days at the Student Union venues (even though I am 5 8″ and at the time was 9st dripping wet!) and when we had a large scale event we would employ a “Crash Team” of non-student security to help police the event. There would be 15-20 of these guys all experienced at working doors in pubs and clubs around Herts and North London. If there was any fighting that we couldn’t deal with (90% of it we could,) we would state our location on the walkie talkie and say “Crash, Crash, Crash.”
The team would make there way to the fracas and wade into the middle of it, anyone who raised a hand towards them would get a left hander (the weakest hand and less likely to do serious damage,) and within seconds the culprits would either have run away or been bodily ejected from the premises. The spectacle had 2 effects on the crowd. The few would be dissuaded from getting involved in any argy bargy and the majority would be reassured that any troublemakers would be dealt with swiftly.
The racecourses need a mobile team of people like this, broad of shoulder and thick of neck to keep order at the biggest events, but kept in reserve for serious incidents, racing should be a genteel and relaxing pastime after all!
The plebs involved in the fighting on the video wouldn’t last 5 minutes against proper event staff like this. The fact that they were throwing and taking multiple punches to the head shows they couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag thankfully, they’d all watched too many Danny Dyer movies, had a couple of beers and got over excited.
The stewards on the day did a great job as they had managed to shepherd these people from the 4th floor of the stand to the exit which must have been like herding cats, but it took over 10 minutes thus exposing more people to the trouble. Beefier security would have prevented this. I hope that racing takes heed of Hearn’s advice.May 17, 2018 at 00:20 #1354045
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“It’s not necessarily that the product is poor it’s that there is so little of it. Take York as an example today. If you arrived on course three quarters of an hour before racing you would be on course for a little over 4 hours and yet see only about 12 minutes of sport. It’s therefore not surprising that some like to while away the spare time by visiting the bar. ”
There’s plenty to do at the races for the racing fan without having to resort to getting drunk.
You can watch thoroughbred racehorses parade, watch them gallop down to the start, watch them race and watch them enter the winners enclosure. If you’re so inclined, you can even spend some time reading form, scanning the ring for the best price on offer and visit the merchandising stalls. On top of all this, walking between enclosures, going for the occasional toilet break and finding a decent viewing spot in the stands, I don’t know where people find the time to queue for a drink let alone several.May 17, 2018 at 17:17 #1354096
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BH, I’m not really talking about racing fans like yourself, I’m talking about people who are looking to spend their money on a day out. The reason they go to the races is not purely for the actual 12 minutes of sport, it’s for the social occasion which includes having a drink if they want one. They’re no more interested in watching horses parade or go to the start than they would be watching footballers warm up for 15 minutes before a match. Alcohol now goes hand in hand with the majority of any leisure activity. Football, Cricket,Rugby, Darts, Snooker, the theatre, music festivals, the list is endless. Without the alcohol factor I don’t believe you would get such large crowds at quite a few of these events.During the summer you get more people on a sunny Sunday afternoon down my local establishment than you’ll get in a church the whole week because they provide a bouncy castle and football nets for the kids and the parents can sit in the garden, have a drink and chat till their hearts content. But the issue with scenes at Goodwood is the amount of alcohol consumed by individuals and the consequences that come from that and how it is dealt with. Drone hit the nail on the head in another thread when he said
“Come on then Cormack, firstly give me some examples – or perhaps an example – of a marketing initiative that’s proved successful in attracting the uninitiated to the sport; and secondly some sound, concrete ideas of your own
nb. attracting people to the sport, not the racecourse: tankers full of John Smiths and Fosters have proven a fabulous marketing success there, haven’t they?”
Take away the tankers and the crowds will disappear.May 17, 2018 at 18:39 #1354101
Take away the tankers and the crowds will disappear.
There’s always been the impression that ‘a day at the races’ is a special day out, something to plan for, something to bib-and-tucker for, something to be somewhat apprehensive about coz it’s special – much like me and invites to dinner parties – over which I shudder and assuage the discomfort with particularly large stiffy after kissing the hostess
So, a day at the races is a piss-up but initially is not quite as comforting an experience as wandering in to your local ‘Spoons for a livener at circa middayMay 17, 2018 at 19:04 #1354102
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over which I shudder and assuage the discomfort with particularly large stiffy after kissing the hostess
Golly. That’s a stiff drink, yes? You mean a stiff drink?
MikeMay 17, 2018 at 19:54 #1354107
Golly. That’s a stiff drink, yes? You mean a stiff drink?
Yep, rolling my tongue round a large Black Bush after the stiff niceties makes the party bearable
Thanks for playing the game: Little to Large, Wise to Morecambe, Mortimer to ReevesMay 18, 2018 at 01:01 #1354141
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How would you measure ‘attracting the uninitiated to the sport’?
I’d argue numerous marketing initiatives have increased racecourse attendance. Betting companies spend huge amounts on marketing their racing products, would they really do that if it didn’t work.
So ‘new’ people go to racecourses on back of marketing, and ‘new’ people bet on back of marketing campaigns.
If your question is how many stick around a lifetime supporting the game, I don’t think anyone would know that.
However, marketing works, in any sphere.
Although Hoover (I think) once said ‘half of my advertising spend is wasted, I just don’t know which half’.May 18, 2018 at 10:29 #1354159
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very depressing reading. as a racegoer of over 50 years , attended every racecourse in the uk , I have witnessed much drunkenness but little actual violence . But racecourses now seem to actively seek out hen and stag type groups in addition to the summer football fans and the moving of most big races to saturdays has aggravated the situation at the expense of the true racing fan. It is a real shame but with my wife now confined to a wheelchair we have to settle for attending “ordinary” mid week meetings and watch the big meetings on tv. ps a little plug for Redcar which we will be at on monday , thanks for providing good facilities for the disabled with excellent raised viewing of paddock and racecourseMay 18, 2018 at 11:26 #1354174
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Something very important, which is not being mentioned to much… The fight at Goodwood, was between rival Portsmouth & Southampton football supporters. There has also been other recent cases of mass brawls at big race meetings, which in essence, involve two rival sets of football fans.
The Police have long since clamped down on hooliganism at or around the games, in some cases, it would seem these people are choosing to meet up… Getting it on, dressed in suits at a race meeting instead. I mean, who’s to stop them? Some wishy washy race course security?
It’s no coincidence whatsoever, that 50 men from two big rival football teams, turn up at the same race meeting, and it ends in a mass fight. It happened at Newbury between Swansea & Cardiff fans too if anyone remembers?
They are not racing fans, or even the great British public, they are football hooligans, going there for a pre planned tear up. The police need to get a grip on this and fast, or it’s going to happen again and again.May 18, 2018 at 11:39 #1354178
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Good point Nausered. After all, pissed up stag parties are mostly happy occasions and I imagine if one coked up stag accidentally spills another’s Bolly their friends would probably defuse any ensuing scuffle fairly quickly, or at least it’s unlikely to end in a mass brawl.
The preplanned rival football fan set-to makes more sense. I think police intelligence is the way forward to intercept these.May 18, 2018 at 12:54 #1354186
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It does need to be sorted out by the old bill very quickly mate. The second post on this thread states that they were chanting at each other in the bar, a full hour before the mass fight.
These things spread fast with others wanting to emulate, next it will be Millwall v West Ham at Sandown. Seeing the problem for what it actually is, is the only way to sort it. Yes I’m sure there’s been other trouble at race meetings, that do not involve football fans. But Goodwood was Pompy v Southampton. Newbury was Swansea v Cardiff.
The race courses are not going to be able to sort this out themselves. Like you say the police need to get heavily involved to sort it out and put a stop to it.
What chance of that though, when they are so understaffed these days?May 18, 2018 at 14:36 #1354196
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