Who Needs Consultants?
So the racing authorities have instigated a review of racing with a view to making it more attractive to a wider audience – well that is good news.
The bad news is they are spending an inordinate amount of money paying marketeers to provide the answers.
A sure fire recipe for disaster if you ask me. Having worked in the “real world” for many years one thing I have learned is that most marketing people do not reside in the real world.
So to save the BHA a vast fortune here are my suggestions as to how to make racing more attractive to a wider audience:-
- Clamp down on anti-social behaviour at the courses. It is the most off putting aspect of racing at the moment. Far too many race meetings are spoiled by drunken boorish behaviour.
Simple - if they are drunk they are ejected if they kick up a stink about being ejected they are arrested for drunk and disorderly.
Most race meetings seem to have a police presence and instead of strolling around chatting (which is what they seem to do) their time would be better spent dealing with those morons who confuse the racecourse with their local high street.
The sooner courses sort out these drunks the sooner more decent racegoers will be attracted back.
Even Newton Abbot last Tuesday evening sounded like a football terrace rather than a racecourse.
- A contentious one but move to an off-course Tote monopoly with profits being fed back into racing. "Traditional" bookmakers allowed on-course only with the proviso that all betting is carried out via a central computerised system and their "admission" charge is a fixed percentage of their turnover.
- Retain the split enclosure system, with one of the main enclosures being completely alcohol free. This will give racegoers a choice. Single enclosures are all well and good but no fun if you want to avoid the drunks. This also give a range of price options for those attending, from a cheap day out to that little something extra. i.e. you pays your money and you takes your choice.
- Engage racegoers more. There is a PA system at the course - use it.
Have paddock commentaries and make preview sessions mandatory at all meetings.
Have the commentators comment as the horses are going down - most are excellent readers of horses condition.
Publish the weight of the horses, it is not rocket science and is an invaluable aid to punters.
Have two racecards at each meeting - one "traditional" one aimed at the beginner with plenty of information for beginners and a second, more "technical" one with form lines and form data.
- Big screens and plenty of TV's in the stands at all meetings. Not all courses have perfect viewing. If people cannot see what is happening they will not bother coming again.
Some courses are victims of their topology – where this is the case it is inexcusable not to have big screens and televisions.
- Have plenty of racing related displays at the course, again engaging racegoers.
- Have more (or in many cases - some) seating in the stands. My father-in-law is in his 80's and still loves his racing, however he is limited to the courses he can attend as most do not have anywhere where he can sit and watch the racing.
- Adoption of point 2 will allow for entrace costs to be subsidised and therefore reduced to a more affordable level.
Admission costs should also reflect the quality of the racing on offer.
- Stop wasting money on consultants - the money can be better spent elsewhere.
Stewards enquiries should be "open", ideally cameras should be allowed, at the very least the press should be allowed in - the PA or RP could provide pooled coverage to prevent a media scrum.
Stop pussyfooting about and tinkering with the fixture list - just slash it.
All Monday's, apart from Bank Holidays, should be blank days.
We sometimes have bad weather in the winter - if this results in blank days accept it - don't bother putting on low grade betting fodder as a late replacement.
There should be more than three concurrent meetings in the afternoon and no more than two concurrent meetings in the evening.
There should also be a reintroduction of a proper geographical split of meetings.