The National Football League (NFL) has tried in recent years to try to attract fans to attend live games. They realize that watching the game on TV and especially in high-definition TV along with instant replay and stats are stiff competition to attending a live game. Throw in parking, tickets, food and beverage and you can be out quite a bit of money going to the game. Staying at home or watching at a restaurant is usually much more inexpensive.
What about horse racing? While admission prices are a fraction of an NFL game, there is still parking, food and beverage, program and your choice of past performances to pay for when going to the track. Before you are ready to wager, you have already spent at least $10 and you would still need money to eat or drink or to buy a reserved seat.
If you stay at home, you can wager online without paying admission, parking or a program. Most all past performances are now available to download at a lower price (which can cost more if you print them out yourself) and you already have a seat. The price of gas is also another money saver by staying at home.
Let's look at the major advantages of going to the track or wagering from home.
Advantages of the track:
- Live action: The thrill of watching horses race down the stretch in person cannot be matched. When you are rooting your horse home along with those around you makes for an exciting moment especially when you win.
- Seeing the horses up close: From watching the horses being saddled in the paddock, the walk to the track and the warmup, you can analyze each runner which can give you a great edge over those that are watching over a satellite signal.
- Social aspect: There are quite a few characters that can be seen at a track and it is great hanging out with others who share your passion for horse racing. Discussing big wins and bad beats make for some interesting stories if you are willing to listen which you can also learn from (for example, always box your Exactas).
Advantages of home:
- Access to payoffs: Instant access to will-pays, odds and pools can help you decide where your wagers will be made. You can find this information at the track, but usually you have to wait for the will-pays/odds to cycle on a screen to see them.
- Tickets will not be lost: Who hasn't lost a ticket at the track? With online wagering, the ticket is electronic. Also, you do not have to wait in line which can be frustrating when you are behind a $.10 Superfecta player.
- Convenience: What if you just want to bet one horse? What if you like to play multiple tracks? What if you want to wager before or after work? All this can take a few minutes online instead of driving to the track.
Race tracks make more money on a wager on track rather than off track since there is no middle man. Race tracks are making an effort to try to take the advantages of wagering from home to the track with computer technology. With smart phones and tablets, race tracks can offer an app which gives you access to payoffs. Some tracks are offering wagering with these devices as well which is obviously more convenient.
This may not be enough to bring a large portion of fans back to live racing, but it is a start. Lowering or eliminating parking and admission prices along with lowering takeout for those wagering on track are other ways to bring back the fans.
What are your ideas that would bring you back to live racing?