America’s Best Racing – Check it Out

The NTRA is collaborating with The Jockey Club to create a new, fan-centric website. This collaboration is a continuation of the joint marketing and promotions initiatives that our organizations began last year with the expansion of NTRA Communications. The new site – which in many ways will be a re-branding of - will complement The Jockey Club’s integrated strategy to combine national television, content like free-to-play online games, and social media to attract and engage new fans of Thoroughbred racing. This innovative fan development effort will be centered on the new web portal, branded “America’s Best Racing.”

The “America’s Best Racing” brand initiative was launched last weekend at  There, you can register for a chance to win a VIP trip for eight to this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita. While you are visiting the new web page, take a look at the videos about America’s Best Racing and check out the schedule for this spring’s “Road to the Kentucky Derby” live racing series to be televised  by the NBC Sports Group.

And mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 4 – the day that phase 1 of America’s Best Racing actually launches. Subsequent phases – offering enhanced content - will roll-out over the course of the Triple Crown campaign and into the summer.

The new site is being developed by the Orlando, Fla., based arm of the global Web designer LightMaker, whose other clients include Manchester United, tennis star Maria Sharapova and the Professional Bull Riders.

Eventually, the new site will include a free-to-play online game that will provide the casual or new fan a fun and easy way to learn about wagering on horseracing. It will also feature a Facebook social game that simulates the Thoroughbred owner experience.  The goal of “America’s Best Racing” is to introduce fans to America’s best horses, races, tracks, jockeys, trainers and owners with a focus on the two seasons: “The Road to the Triple Crown” and “The Road to the Breeders’ Cup.” 

Key to a successful launch of the new site is the integrated digital marketing and promotional effort surrounding the rollout. This plan includes strategic media buys, earned media and promotion on social media platforms as we get closer to Triple Crown season.  The goal is to leverage new TV and digital tools to introduce and develop relationships with a new, younger fan base.  One feature of this integrated digital plan is a Twitter-based social marketing campaign called #theothermadness, which promotes horse racing’s distinct brand of madness during Triple Crown season. Another is a new pinterest page dedicated to the America’s Best Racing initiative.

What will happen to  Our site will continue to operate within the same design framework in a way that complements America’s Best Racing. pages for NTRA programs like the National Handicapping Championship, the Safety and Integrity Alliance, NTRA Advantage and Legislative will live on and continue to provide members and fans with the same information as always. The goal is to utilize NTRA’s 10 million annual page views and industry leading search engine rating to provide a base of support to America’s Best Racing.

Why do this now? Due to numerous factors, Thoroughbred racing has undergone dramatic change in the past several years, and we are not alone. The global economic downturn has impacted businesses and sports world-wide. However, there are hopeful signs for Thoroughbred racing:

-         Pari-mutuel wagering appears to have stabilized and is actually on the uptick these past few months in year-over-year comparisons;

-         Despite the difficult economy, our big events our bigger than ever.  Attendance at some tracks across the country and mainstream interest are growing and trending in a positive direction. This includes not only the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup, but many other major race days around the country;

-         Our game, rich in data and delivered in exciting and colorful two minute bursts, remains well-suited for the Internet;

-         Exchange Betting and other new wagers represent opportunities ifimplemented properly;

-         The door to the international wagering market outside North America is open, but its potential remains untapped and largely unknown;

-         There are two cable television networks dedicated to horse racing;

-         The consolidation of the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup under the umbrella of a single TV network, and the telecast of key races leading to both events by the same network, represents an opportunity going forward;

-         New York racing is in the early stages of a rebirth thanks to expanded gaming;

-         Winter racing Meccas like South Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and California all appear to be having strong race meetings; and

-         Time and again, research indicates that our core fans are loyal and passionate. And, we are seeking to engage the help of our dedicated fans in positioning our sport as a fun, exciting and affordable sports entertainment option to the next generation of horse racing fans.

If we remain fragmented and continue to operate within our own separate silos, it will be difficult if not impossible to take advantage of these opportunities. We need strong collaboration to enact significant initiatives that can broaden Thoroughbred racing’s popularity and strengthen industry economics. Strategic alignment of priorities, such as the initiatives being undertaken by The Jockey Club and NTRA, represent a good start. And it will likely take even broader collaboration and involvement from other industry organizations to maximize opportunities to move the needle. 

Check out America’s Best Racing and tell us what you think. And watch for more collaboration by the Thoroughbred industry in coming months.

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