Betfair goes to Hollywood

Betfair finalizes deal for marketing, naming rights to Hollywood Park

Betfair U.S., the Los Angeles-based subsidiary of Betfair Group plc that owns Television Games Network, and Hollywood Park Racing Association completed of a ground-breaking agreement intended to transform the customer experience for racing fans at the historic venue, online, and on television.

Terms of the five-year deal call for Hollywood Park to be renamed Betfair Hollywood Park in the first naming rights agreement ever for a horse racing venue in the U.S.

Building on the success of the innovative Betfair Lounge at Ascot racecourse in England, Betfair plans to make significant infrastructure investments and improvements at the Hollywood Park facility to create the “Betfair Club” where the Hollywood Lounge is currently located on the main floor of the Players Club and the “Betfair Lounge” where the VIP Lounge is currently located near the third floor box seat area. The deal is also subject to Hollywood Park receiving assurance regarding its 2013 racing dates from the California Horse Racing Board.

TVG will produce the Betfair Hollywood Park simulcast signal and related TVG television programming. TVG will introduce advanced graphics packages similar to those used in network broadcasts of major U.S. sporting events to enhance the user experience and data available from the product.

TVG telecasts will promote all events taking place at Betfair Hollywood Park and drive attendance to the venue for live racing. At a future date, it is anticipated that the televised races from Betfair Hollywood Park will be presented in high definition.

Betfair’s racing customers are nearly twenty years younger than the average U.S. racing customer. Betfair will use its proven methods and techniques utilizing electronic media, social media, and other new media outlets to drive a younger demographic to the venue and, importantly, interest that demographic in wagering on horse races—which has proven elusive for the U.S. racing industry.

For example, customers who purchase tickets to music concerts at the venue will be able to redeem those tickets for wagering credits in a TVG account in the amount of the face value of the ticket that may not be withdrawn until wagered.

“We are deeply committed to changing US horseracing for the better and are delighted to find a partner in Hollywood Park Racing Association willing to take the bold step of trying to change every facet of the racing experience to appeal to a broader, younger audience,” said Stephen Burn, chief executive officer of Betfair U.S. and TVG. “Horse racing is a wonderful sport, but it must embrace cultural change and utilize advancements in technology and presentation to survive and thrive just as other sports and entertainment industries have done.  We hope this is the first of many examples of using the assets of technology companies, such as Betfair, to revitalize historic venues such as Betfair Hollywood Park.”

The CHRB is currently considering regulations that would make possible the implementation of exchange wagering on racing by California residents for the first time anywhere in the U.S. Betfair pioneered exchange wagering on racing in 2000.

“We realize that U.S. racing, and California racing in particular, simply cannot continue on as it has,” said Jack Liebau, president of Hollywood Park Racing Association. “We need to look at the way we do everything in presenting our product to the public and not be afraid to embrace change, particularly if we are going to generate a younger fan base. We believe that partnering with Betfair to modernize the product will benefit California racing. Exchange wagering is another possibly transformative technological change for horseracing. However, it will only be introduced after a thorough consultation with our Horsemen and Horsewomen and, of course, its implementation is ultimately subject to the approval of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.”

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