Changing The Ball Game

Highlight fun & competitive elements of racing

Racing has historically not given itself any real opportunity to market the game to a diverse and more technologically demanding customer base, even though the sport is crying out for some actionable marketing strategy to broaden its appeal.

Leon Smuts writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag that to substantially grow the cake and more importantly the customer base the offering should be expanded to have a unique entertainment driven focus that allow people to challenge themselves and one another in a relaxed but highly competitive environment.

Greyville Old Stand Spectators


People love competing and it’s apparent in every facet of life as can be seen in the work market for jobs or more senior positions, in businesses competing for customers, in sport amongst teams and individual competitors and as spectators or fans, in pub or board games and even for the affection of others.

Racing started because of this very natural and powerful human competitive trait. It’s an integral part of life and the introduction of new formats that provide individuals with the means to compete and be competitive in a fun environment would be very well received.

Even more so when it offers recognition, bragging rights and the chance of substantial and occasional economic gain when taking part.

Growing racing’s customer base requires an approach that critically needs to diverge from pure gambling which is often frowned upon because of problem gambling and the social distresses that this inevitably creates.

Black Caviar crowds

In many quarters there is a justifiable stigma attached to gambling and specifically racing because of being in the news regularly for all the wrong reasons (animal cruelty and corrupt and unethical practices, etc).

The bad publicity is often not entirely justified but will be remembered long after the fact. This negative connotation could be reversed by highlighting the fun and competitive elements of racing through more creative offerings designed to make the experience more widely enjoyable and affordable.

The negatives together with limited exposure has made racing an obscure and uninviting activity which will put severe pressure on any marketing efforts that might be implemented down the line.

It is in racing’s interest to revitalise the product offering and make it an experience that would be hard to resist and very rewarding for participants. Every effort should be made to give racing a new more marketable and modern character that shouts customer first in all things.

Why should games not offer participants a better winning opportunity and more quality dividends than what is currently on offer?

The shortcoming of current multi-leg exotics is the elimination-based methodology that it utilizes to determine winners.

This mostly works for skilled players, although it is still a hindrance for maximum involvement, but it is a huge stumbling block in a new customer context where elimination removes all the entertainment value of being involved. The initial stage of involvement is the most vital part of securing a longer-term interest and games should reflect an understanding of this in their design.

The tote is in a unique position to use the power of pooling in a much more effective way. Contest based multi leg exotics will offer a much improved and more appealing playing environment than pure wagering exotics.

It would provide racing with a radically different and more entertaining playing platform from which to grow racing successfully and would completely change the ball game.

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