Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
How popular is horse racing globally?
-This week in England, the birth of the first foal sired by Frankel (a filly out of Song) was front page news on The Times, as well as, a huge feature on nationwide news.
-Across the Irish Sea, Tony McCoy, former flats, turned jumps rider, was honored as the Sports Star of the Year by the Belfast Telegraph.
-In Hong Kong, more than 10% of the population maintain internet betting accounts (according to Sha Tin), helping their average daily handle totals dwarf that of the United States.
-Even without betting, horse racing in Dubai rates as one of the most popular spectator sports in the United Arab Emirates.
-And as we all know, down in Australia, each November, the Melbourne Cup is “the race that stops a nation”.
How popular is horse racing domestically?
Meanwhile in the United States, go to any major sports site, and you will see that horse racing barely merits a blip on their radar. After football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer, golf, auto racing, tennis, boxing, bowling and mixed martial arts, horse racing fights for its place in the marketplace along with fishing, lacrosse, and poker.
As someone determined to promote horse racing in the U.S., clearly, I am failing. I want to do better. Off the top of the head, several of the issues that the sport struggles with, include:
-Lack of cohesive voice/plan
-Proliferation of other gambling options
-Animal rights concerns
-Difficulty to understand/cost of information
-No consistent quality of venues
-Perception of race fixing
-Lack of television coverage
-Illegal/legal drug use
-Lack of mainstream media coverage
-Overall poor perception of the sport by American public
What I would like to ask you today is: Are these problems of American horse racing fixable?