For more than two weeks, Home Box Office (HBO) has offered free streaming via the HBO Now and HBO GO platforms for several of its famous titles, “the first time…this type of programming [is] available outside of a paywall throughout the month of April. The service is usually priced at $14.99 per month.”
Horse racing is not HBO, but the point is obvious. What a better way to get people to try your product than take the most captive audience period in history and give them a free trial.
Racing is quite different in that we charge people to become informed to make an investment/wagering decision. Despite all of the problems with that very statement, if we don't even try this now, temporarily, then what hope is there for the future?
Here is our plea to Equibase (and The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Racing Associations of North America):
In light of our publication on Friday, outlining the broken financial model of racing which is now exposed to its most dire extent following the imposed shutdowns of casinos and elimination of on-track betting, it should be clear that there is an absolute need to take every measure to increase handle.
It should not matter who is pushing this idea - we are all in this together, right? Shouldn't all elements of our industry want the best possible situation, at least for now, for all of our horsemen and the associated downstream impact?
Offer free past performances for all tracks running now and until the doors open again, and go back to charging once things go back to "normal." We just want horsemen that are still racing to have the best shot at paying their bills. Equibase should too.
We can work together on better long-term solutions for data availability in racing after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. But for now, just give existing, and potential customers, free, basic past performances, let them bet and let’s ensure those we maximize whatever revenues betting can generate, even despite the incredibly flawed business model we all need to fix concurrently.