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How would you improve racing?

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  • #4536
    dave jay
    Member
    • Total Posts 3386

    In an article in the RP yesterday David Thorpe says he wants to ‘reverse the decline in market share of horseracing in betting shops’ and ‘We need to understand the demographics and technological aspects of betting on horseracing, and respond accordingly’

    I think there are a few things that could be improved right away and some things could be sorted out but would take a little while longer.

    The first thing that I think needs to be done is to reverse the crooked way that SP’s are returned from courses and increase the percentage paid to the levy by bookmakers. I also think that more data should be readily available to the public, sectional times, actual horse weights and the exact distance that races are being run over would be a good starting point.

    What advice would you give David ??

    #106167
    Mounty
    Member
    • Total Posts 455

    I guess we’d have to un-invent the internet in order to reverse the decline. Give it ten years and they’ll be a little machine in the corner showing live horseracing – the main screens in the shops will be filled with roulette/bingo/lucky numbers etc.

    #106173
    Galejade
    Member
    • Total Posts 185

    As I have argued on the insider information thread the cost of exchange betting to the punter has to rise with the whole of that extra cost going to Racing. At the moment a £ bet on the exchanges gives Racing only 15 to 20% of the benefit of a pound spent with the bookmaker. Aspunter money switches to the exchanges Racing’s income falls and yet its cost of regulation increases markedly as the number of "bookmakers" has risen from a handful to millions.

    #106177
    MikkyMo73
    Member
    • Total Posts 1789

    Drifting from the point slightly, I would like to see free entry into Racecourse to improve the image of racing, ie, more families attending etc.

    I can’t remember the course, it could have been Perth, but recently they released some statistics to show that allowing free entry is more profitable than charging at the gate. It showed something like 3,000 paying £10 entry fee and spending an average of £10 = £6,0000, whereas free entry meant 8,000 attending spending an average of £10 = £8,000.

    My local racecourse is Sedgefield, and they charge around £15 to get in the main stand. Now Sedgefield, as you know, has poor quality cards and I would rather sit in my house and watch it on ATR than spend £15 to get in a run down grand stand. This is probably why their average attendance is very low, and the people attending are punters rather than families having an enjoyable day out.

    If Sedgefield, and courses alike introduce free entry you would get the attendance figures soaring. Families would be attending and they would make a lot of money out of mams and dads buying food and drink for themselves and the kids.

    I know a lot of tracks, especially the bigger ones, still get packed attendances and families attending despite an entry fee, but some of the smaller tracks need to considerable lower their entry fee’s or even offer free entry to lift the profile of their respective tracks and the image of racing at the track.

    Mike

    #106180
    graysonscolumn
    Participant
    • Total Posts 6939

    It might have been Towcester, Mikky – certainly this course has featured free entry since it reopened a couple of years ago. However, it does charge an admission fee on Boxing Day and Easter Monday, i.e two of the days on which you would hope to attract a bigger family crowd.

    Sedgefield, of course, somehow managed to escape the axe more times during the 1960s and 1970s than I’ve shouted "Richard Guest!!" on these pages. Attendances there nowadays wouldn’t rate as significantly higher, but it does have the trump card of the big car boot sales there every Sunday which must bring enough revenue into the course for them not to have to worry too much about bums on seats – it has, after all, been cited on countless occasions as the reason why the course has no interest in embracing Sunday racing.

    Jeremy
    (graysonscolumn)

    The patron saint of lower-grade fare. A gently critical friend of point-to-pointing. Kindness is a political act.

    #106181
    Prufrock
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2081

    How much of the £10 spend in the above is profit?

    £10 spent on a meal and two pints of beer is not £10 profit, for instance.

    #106184
    MikkyMo73
    Member
    • Total Posts 1789

    How much of the £10 spend in the above is profit?

    £10 spent on a meal and two pints of beer is not £10 profit, for instance.

    Hi,

    Havent got a clue mate. What I quoted was just an example and not actual figures. What the statistics showed is that free entry almost tripled the attendance than if there were an entry fee, and if those free entrants spent the same as people who pay to get in then logically the racecourse would make more money.

    Mike

    #106185
    Wallace
    Participant
    • Total Posts 862

    A few points for starters;

    Accurate race distances where the Clerk has to specify at the overnight stage the actual distances incorporating changes to the running rails.

    Independent going assessments using a going stick system with values posted to a web site every day for 7 days prior to the meeting.

    Stalls to be positioned in the middle of the available track for all races.

    A true industry SP system, where exchanges account for at least 50% of the weighting and the balance from bookmakers like Blue Square who produce their own odds. This to end the link between the on course market and the real mass market.

    A ban on all forms of gambling advertising!!!

    #106187
    Sal
    Member
    • Total Posts 562

    Free entry should also save the courses money in reduced gateman wages, printing of badges and passouts and enclosure.

    I think more courses should do it, especially on days when they are second fiddle to a big meeting.

    There should also be repeat attendance vouchers in racecards, both to encourage the purchase of racecards and to encourage return visits.

    And I’m in total agreement with David Ashforth that more courses should have a cheap and sensible place to sit down with a cup of tea.

    #106190
    graysonscolumn
    Participant
    • Total Posts 6939

    Accurate race distances where the Clerk has to specify at the overnight stage the actual distances incorporating changes to the running rails.

    Please God yes! Love the place as I do, I can nevertheless imagine that Market Rasen, with its near-constant pushing in and out of the inner rails to preserve ground, must drive speed figure compilers absolutely doo-lally. Doubtless there are other particularly frequent perpetrators of same.

    gc

    The patron saint of lower-grade fare. A gently critical friend of point-to-pointing. Kindness is a political act.

    #106191
    Friggo
    Member
    • Total Posts 1593

    I think one way to improve interest in racing would be to have less of it. There’s too many poor quality cards with poor qaulity horses. This leads to two things: 1) A lot more swindling of the handicapper by "shrewd" trainers. It’s easier to hide a horses ability when it has less of it! And to a much lesser extent 2) more fancied horses who are worse than normal, and thus are more likely to have a bad run and be turned over. It’s not completely unheard of to have 1st or 2nd favourites refuse to race in some of these events!
    Both of these lead to more big-priced winners with little or no form indicators, which is obviously not what punters want to see.

    In an article in the RP yesterday David Thorpe says he wants to ‘reverse the decline in market share of horseracing in betting shops’

    To be fair, this is more down to the proliferation of FOBT’s in the shops than a decline in interest in racing. And it’s only going to get worse come September 1st when the new legislation comes into force. LBO’s in years to come will be little more than mini casino’s.

    #106192
    Prufrock
    Participant
    • Total Posts 2081

    must drive speed figure compilers absolutely doo-lally

    I think you’ll find that most speed figure compilers are doo-lally already.

    #106227
    insomniac
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1453

    Flat: A number of the Group 1 races should be staged at different courses each year. Tracks staging them should reduce admission prices and SPEND money marketing them on their regions’ TV/Radio/Papers to get people interested in the game. No reason why the July Cup wouldn’t be just as good at Chepstow, Chester, Catterick, Thirsk, Carlisle or Hamilton. Ditto the Eclips, King George, Juddmonte (or whatever it’s called now) International, Champion, Lockinge Stakes etc. can’t change venue..
    Every 10 years the GP1 race could return to its original home.
    There are people who go racing outside of England’s South Eastern "golden triangle".
    Racing’s administrators have no idea how to market their product. I doubt they could get a decent turn out if they had free-sex, free drinks and free money to give away..

    #106260
    Venusian
    Participant
    • Total Posts 1665

    It’s important to note that the total amount bet on racing has continued to grow at the same time as its percentage share of the total betting market has declined. Once new things to bet on are introduced, then by definition, racing’s market share must fall, in the same way as when Tesco started selling clothes and white goods, food sales fell as a proportion of the total. But, it doesn’t mean that people have gone off food.

    Having said that, I have to agree with Insomniac that the marketing of the sport leaves much to be desired, although a nomadic July Cup is perhaps too much to take on board, especially running it at Chester or Catterick!

    Some of the technical points raised by other posters are all very well, but they are really just going to result in a slight increase in turnover by people who are already betting on the sport.

    What needs to be done is to get current non-fans interested in racing as a sport to follow and to bet on.

    How to do this in this complicatedly many-layered sport?

    Well, promoting the big stars, both equine and human, would be a start. Most of the pap served up as "journalism" in the media tends to result in a dreary daily monotone of tips for the 3.45 at Wherever Park, with no reference, or build-up, to the characters involved in the big events.

    As an example, here’s one suggestion for a season-long storyline that could get people’s attention, and it was one that first got me interested in racing (many glaciations ago, well, 1959 actually).

    What about the stayers’ Triple Crown as a kind of "soap"? The races are fascinating to watch, the contestants tend to stay in training and participate in these races for a number of seasons, and there are a fairly limited number of trials for these events, so the whole affair is easy to follow.

    But nothing like this is even attempted. I recall listening to radio 5 on the day of the Henry II stakes, the major trial for the Gold Cup, and all I got by way of a preview was a lot of giggling about a horse with a funny name. And purveyors of the written word do no better.

    Why are these people so lazy? I don’t expect, or wish, them to be mere hagiographers of the sport, but couldn’t some of them have a bit of vision, and make an effort?

    #106320
    dave jay
    Member
    • Total Posts 3386

    The biggest positive turn-around in betting turn over that I can remember in recent years was the abolition of betting tax and the worst stunt has to be the Bandit Racing, people aren’t as stupid as the powers that be would like to think .. voting with their wallets on both occasions.

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