It should be of little surprise to racing industry stakeholders that access to information, and the quality of the information offered, will be a prime topic the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation tackles in time.
Racing is an information-rich sport and its content fills the pages of what is, essentially, the world's most expensive daily newspaper, the Daily Racing Form. There is significant value in racing's data, but still, industry stakeholders wait for a modern, appropriately advanced analytics infrastructure.
The future is reality in other industries, and the degree to which such opportunities are available could be surprising.
The eSports industry is experiencing tremendous growth - both in participation and distribution - and offers ever-increasing access to information. ESPN struck a multi-year deal to acquire the broadcast rights to the Overwatch League which complement the already valuable live streaming rights, which belong to Twitch following a $90 million deal. Newzoo estimated the global eSports audience at 385 million in 2017, of which 191 million were considered "enthusiasts." If you weren't serious about the prospects of eSports, those numbers might suggest it was time to pay attention.
No matter your understanding of eSports or League of Legends, it is interesting to see the development in this sphere - even if for just the comparison to what is currently available in the racing industry. Philip Maykin, Chief Analytics Officer of Vantage Sports and Associate Professor at the Trefz School of Business (University of Bridgeport), authored the winning submission in the Research Paper Competition at the 2018 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Both an abstract and the full paper, "An Open-Sourced Optical Tracking and Advanced eSports Analytics Platform for League of Legends," are available at this link.
As for racing, the opportunity to transform its data seems a long time in the making with its deep trough of data. According to statistics recorded by The Jockey Club, there were 1,642,980 races conducted in America and Canada from 1990 through 2017 with 13,529,752 starters (each typically recording four points of call in a race). The volume of the data is likely attractive for development, but perhaps more important, and unlike most other sports, racing's data comes with a market value (odds) attached to nearly every participant.
What is possible in racing? What could be done to modernize racing information? Can there be elements which are driven by open-source platforms?
We look forward to tackling these and many related questions in the future.