If you can’t see the video by America’s Best Racing, click on the link.
How do you get a generation comfortable with posting videos to YouTube and live-Tweeting during TV shows AND sharing their whereabouts on Facebook to go out to watch horses run as fast as they can every half hour for maybe half a dozen times in an afternoon? Attracting a new generation to the track has been a worry and a priority racing industry visionaries.
The Jockey Club, the breed registry and a major keeper-of-the-racing-flame, ponied up $5 million and came up with is America’s Best Racing. A big part of ABR is the colorful bus carrying young industry professionals to attract young adults in the towns that host the big races this year. ABR has also been a sponsor on NBC Sports’ telecasts of the main 2013 Derby prep races.
One aspect of the sport they’re also highlighting, especially on TV? Horse racing’s interactivity.
Betting as part of the action
A bet works like a vote, except you might get some money in return, as long as you’re able to cash in your ticket. Popularity of the individual horses swings the odds and affects the payouts. Betting is putting your money where your mouth is. So-called “social proof.” It’s like a Retweet on Twitter, Likes on Facebook or +1s on Google+.
When the payout is larger, the outcome of a race becomes bigger news. Remember the headlines as well as the cover of Sports Illustrated when 50-1 shot Mine That Bird won the 2010 Kentucky Derby?
The food, the fashion, the tailgate parties in the parking lot. America’s Best Racing wants the young adults of America to know that the party’s at the track.
For the 2013 Kentucky Derby, the site is running a Revelry or Refined contest in which the winner receives tickets to the Derby, except the recipient has a choice: the raucous infield or the refinement of Millionaire’s Row. BTW, if you clicked on the America’s Best Racing link earlier, you already saw the contest page and may not see it again. Of course, if you’re reading this after the 2013 Kentucky Derby, it won’t be there.
If you choose the clubhouse, you get pricey tickets to the legendary Millionaire’s Row, appropriate attire, a nice hotel room and a sweet ride to the track, along with a $1,000 betting voucher. If you win the contest and choose the Derby infield? You win a tee shirt, a fanny pack, a motel room, van ride to the track but a $5,000 betting voucher. If you’ve ever priced packages for Derby tickets, you can see the financial parity.
So, if you prefer stylish clothes or partying down, depending on the vibe of the venue, you can find your kind of socializing at the track. That’s one of the messages from the Jockey Club, the interactivity of just being part of the scene at the track.
After all, the day may come when these new fans want to join a horse partnership group. Or to start their own racing stables.