Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in existence.
Ancient cultures have long used racing to test the prowess of their horses, whether by riding them or being pulled in a chariot. They passed these traditions through the generations, and the sport continued to grow and thrive. Nowadays, Thoroughbreds race on every continent save Antarctica, and the sport holds as many thrills now as it did centuries ago.
How has the Sport of Kings remained prominent and relevant?
Racing hangs on to its key traditions, but it has also changed with the times when needed.
Over time, informal matches gave way to organized race meetings. Matings of Arabian stallions to farm mares eventually led to meticulous breedings of registered Thoroughbreds. Stamina-driven four mile heats fell out of favor, and horses began running races as a single dash over a shorter distance.
The way spectators consume races has also evolved. Attendance at the track used to be the only way to observe a race, but as the twentieth century progressed, radios and television became increasingly popular. Over the last two decades, media consumption has moved increasingly toward the internet- and horse racing media coverage reflects that.
How is horse racing using social media to grow its reach? Let’s take a look.
As simple as it may seem, discussion posts put out by race tracks garner a lot of attention simply because of the nature of social media. Anyone with a social media account, such as Facebook or Instagram, can view and interact with these public posts, whether they are a dedicated racing fan or not.
The friends or contacts of people who have left comments will often find the posts in their feed as well. This means that people who have never intentionally sought out a horse farm or a race track can now be exposed to the beauty of Thoroughbred racing.
The discussions can also spark ideas and other engagements with the sport. People who have a simple question about horse racing, such as how to view a race or place a bet, can type a quick comment and often have their question answered by another fan within a few minutes, and often others chime in and add their thoughts.
Prospective new fans then gain valuable information and insight that they may never have picked up from a single source like a news broadcast or even a Google search. These discussion posts also allow racing fans worldwide to converse about their special interest with one another when they may never have met otherwise.
People who live far away from any track or farm can connect with those who work with Thoroughbred horses every day. The previously unsung heroes of the sport, such as grooms and exercise riders, can share their expertise on racing topics or simply wax poetic about the athletes they’ve had the good fortune to interact with over the years.
Many tracks also stream races live on their social media platforms. This makes it easy for fans to view their races and engage with the track’s content from the comfort of their own homes. This makes horse racing far more accessible to a large audience. People who would never be able to get to a live race track or even an off-track betting location can see races all around the world.
Many tracks or streaming services include major international races in their coverage, and in many cases, subtitles may be available so that viewers can enjoy access in their language of choice.Tracks earn money not only from patrons, but also from advertisements that they can sprinkle throughout their show.
Some of the advertisements are overt, rather like television commercials, but some, like product placement, are more subtle. This allows for tracks to gain more revenue while not interfering with the racing experience from the viewers’ perspective. Viewers may be more comfortable tuning in if they do not feel as though they are constantly bombarded by obvious and time-consuming advertisements.
Tracks can also put out videos of a variety of topics in smaller chunks, so viewers can choose which parts of the show they want to watch. This is especially appealing to viewers who enjoy short-form content that cuts to the chase, while those who enjoy the whole program can simply access all of the videos one after another.
For example, during Kentucky Derby week, some viewers wanted to watch the morning workouts, some wanted tips on making a mint julep, and some simply wanted to watch Mage storm down the stretch and take the roses. Others wanted the entire experience, and they were able to indulge in that as well.
Horse racing is powered by the money bet on the races, so making the betting process appealing and user-friendly has always been paramount.
Betting apps allow users to quickly and safely place bets from their phones, all while learning about the horses they are backing, the races they are watching (for many of these apps also stream live racing), and engage with racing in a far more personal way than they would be able to in an analog society.
While the apps do not provide the experience to connect with other fans that the aforementioned live streams and posts do, they allow for users to access a multitude of expert opinions. Professional handicappers provide intense analyses of each race, including past performances and up-to-date track conditions. Many also provide articles and podcasts directed to beginning bettors hoping to maximize their profits.
The apps are updated in real time, meaning that bettors not only get their payouts much faster, but they get their information just as quickly- such as the information provided here regarding the exciting upcoming Del Mar race meet: twinspires.com/race-tracks/del-mar.
Because the apps also provide access to multiple race tracks at a time, specialized exotic wagers that cover races at different locations are also available.