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A national perspective on Harness Racing Where to Next?

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Presentation on theme: "A national perspective on Harness Racing Where to Next?"— Presentation transcript:

1 A national perspective on Harness Racing Where to Next?

2 Harness Racing Australia (HRA) HRA is the peak body for harness racing in Australia and maintains responsibility for the naming of horses, central recording of breeding information and the recording of all racing results. Traditionally, HRA has also provided the coordination and forums at which national issues such as handicapping, harness racing rules, animal welfare and other measures are formulated and recommended to its members.

3 Where to Next? Harness racing needs to change – it needs to meet the market. We need to aggressively compete for market share – not of the wagering dollar - but of the leisure dollar. Key areas are: Product Development Wagering Promotion The racing product must be right in order to attract wagering dollars and promote the industry with confidence.

4 The Meadowlands situation We can learn much from the Meadowlands situation. The loss of an international icon such as this will be felt around the world - but who is to blame, how did it happen? Put simply, the racing industry failed to meet the market and lost relevance in this once racing stronghold. Lost relevance with governments and lost relevance with the public. Put another way, it was not geared to compete for the leisure dollar – Im not sure we are yet either.

5 What can we learn from The Meadowlands? To steal a recent quote from Jeff Gural: Unless the industry changes, I dont see why new people are suddenly going to embrace this. The Canadian Sportsman, March (pg 26)

6 Meeting the Market Independent research in 2009 highlighted a number of areas in which harness racing can improve: Capitalising on the existing strong and loyal base Evolving to appeal to new audiences This is our greatest challenge – appealing to a sport loving community which, outside of our loyal fans, views the industry as old, boring, complicated and niche. Currently the industry works feverishly just to maintain its position – growth is our greatest challenge.

7 What to do? Product Development Product Presentation Professionalism - false starts/late starts - attire and attitude during interviews - drivers out of cart at start time camera angles national consistency color coding to pick up horse/driver in running innovation of gear and equipment

8 What to do? Product Development Racing Product Generate exciting and competitive racing Matching racing product with consumer demands -Faster -Shorter -More movement Entertainment Drive commercial returns (on and off course)

9 What to do? Wagering National approach to Race Fields Legislation Pooling initiatives New bet types to compete with sports betting popularity Broadcast rights Reciprocal international agreements Is there too much racing available and has this diluted interest or demand for racing?

10 What to do? Promotion Sell the stories outside of the industry circle Ease of access, low barriers of entry Embrace new and emerging technologies Get people Back to the Track Major Carnivals

11 A national perspective on Harness Racing - Where to Next? As outlined in the beginning, HRA and its Members has much to do in terms of advancements in traditional areas of its operations. Some of these, such as animal welfare also need to adapt to meet current community standards, but the answer to the question for this symposium: Harness Racing – Where to Next? lies squarely at the feet of meeting the market to grow the fan base – or risk being further marginalised.


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