Great Scott! Not…

Penrith or Piere - Have they got any clue what the market really wants?

remote-problemsRacing fans around South Africa celebrated Piere Strydom’s extraordinary achievement of his 5000th winner on South African soil in the first race at the Vaal today. But the event was lost on Tellytrack, who chose to show us a harness race from Penrith instead of broadcasting a momentous historic moment.

Granted, it is early days.

But newly appointed Tellytrack CEO Rob Scott has obviously not made an impact on his Rivonia colleagues, as yet.

And we are not picking on him. But we would like to believe that the buck at least slows down at his office – even if it doesn’t stop there yet.

On his appointment announced in early April, Scott said: “I am looking forward to joining the Tellytrack team. The channel is the window to horse racing and serves a host of customers with varying needs and expectations. We will need to build a strategy that is not only commercially viable but also services our diverse customer base.”

Expectations and service. You surely have to know and understand, and care about your market to deliver those?

We vaguely understand the commercial mechanics of betting turnover and the need to broadcast a host of racing from obscure venues around the world, but this was probably another rare once-in-a-lifetime moment for many of us who love the game and its heroes.

We wanted to share it and hear- and see a breathless Striker.

We didn’t want to see bloody chariots going round a track three or four times in a foreign country.

The studio announcer (not his fault!) followed up the Penrith race by reading a whole lot of betting from a  venue we have never heard of.

And what about using split screens – or a delayed broadcast?

Like everything in life, it is the small basic things that count. The fact that it is history that we are living, well…

Most racing executives don’t relate to Piere Strydom – or our sport and its other heroes – or 5000 winner milestones – or what punters think.

The odd thing is that the fuss made of Striker on 22 November on his 5000 total winner mark at Kenilworth, when he had the garland and the champagne and roses, looked like it had happened in a different world.

Phumelela’s CEO Rian du Plessis said that Mr Scott’s role will be ‘to continue to develop the Tellytrack team to a level where its performance is at least equal to the best global horse racing channels.’

That is looking like a pipe dream right now.

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