This week's announcement by the New York Racing Association (NYRA) to raise admission prices for both general and clubhouse admission has caused many complaints from horseplayers/fans on social media and website posts. I've seen an ad that boasts Belmont Park will have average daily purses of $850,000 and there is the new $8 million in purses on Belmont Stakes Day so the NYRA is not hurting for money yet they are still raising prices.
Yes, it's great that they are able to offer these high purses for the horseowners as it is expensive to race a horse and higher purses often lead to bigger fields which many horseplayers love. However, to send the cost to the horseplayers/fans by charging more just to enter the facilities is not the right thing to do.
Earlier this year, the NYRA did announce improvements for Saratoga which include: 750 new HDTV's, an enhanced sound system, 125 more picnic tables, Trakus, expanded children's playground, upgraded restrooms and expanded outdoor dining. This has been way overdue and an improvement this big likely would not have happened without the help from the expanded gaming revenue from NYRA's other tracks Aqueduct and Belmont Park.
Horseplayers/fans have almost become accustomed to out-of-date technology, high takeout, poor food quality, run-down facilities and poor customer service at many race tracks. We still attend and wager because we love the betting action. We love the sport. We love the atmosphere even with these conditions and any improvements are more than welcome.
Instead of trying to welcome back and attract fans to the track, raising prices is only going to do the opposite. With all these improvements, don't you think horseplayers/fans would be excited to see them all only to find out it costs more to get in the gates? Wouldn't you think that word of mouth and basic marketing without raising prices would help bring in more people? Apparently, this is not the way that the NYRA conducts business which is going to rub us fans, which have kept them in business for a long time, the wrong way.