JC / Railbird

Make Yourself Welcome

Dana Byerly, aka superterrific, is this week’s Breeders’ Cup Forum subject on the Paulick Report, talking about Hello Race Fans. The whole Q&A is great, but I really like this point:

So much of the material that’s out there for new folks who want to engage more deeply with racing assumes that everyone’s goal is to become a serious, long-term player who must show a profit. That can be off-putting for folks who just want to spend some summer afternoons at their local track, having a good time whether they come home with extra money or not.

Maybe those folks will eventually want to get serious with their game or maybe racing will be an increasing part of their entertainment budget with no expectation of getting a return. I guess the short answer is “create a welcoming environment for people to learn about all aspects of Thoroughbred horse racing.”

I’ve always been pro reaching out to all segments of potential fans, regardless of whether or not they’re likely to become dedicated bettors, because without a broad base of people who associate going to the track with a fun afternoon or a delightful family activity, horse racing will struggle (more than it does) with popular support. We need the casual fans as much as the hard-core horseplayers, and we shouldn’t underestimate the interest of those more casual fans in knowing something about the game. Everyone likes to look smart at the track — even if they’re playing $2 to show.