In case you haven't heard there has been a major development that will greatly effect racing fans and the direction of the sport. For perhaps the first time in history a major racing organization is soliciting advice from average fans. The NTRA has requested that five well known bloggers form a panel to discuss what can be done to "engage and retain" fans.
Here is an excerpt from the press release:
"The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Marketing Summit, to be held Sept. 21-23 at Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, will feature a special 90-minute session on Sept. 22 called "Reaching a New Generation". The workshop will be moderated by John Della Volpe, founder and president of SocialSphere Strategies and director of polling at Harvard's Institute of Politics, and will focus on tactical strategies that racing can employ today to engage and retain new fans.
Joining Della Volpe in his presentation will be five members of a newly created NTRA online marketing task force: Dana Byerly, 42, from New York City; Jessica Chapel, 34, from Brooklyn, N.Y.;Patrick Patten, 30, from Matawan, N.J.; Troy Racki, 26 from Loma Linda, Calif.; and Kevin Stafford, 30 from Hanover, Penn. All are active bloggers, handicappers and online contributors.
"The presentation will be a living, breathing Web 2.0 collaboration with some of racing's best fans," said Della Volpe. "We have scoured the Internet for racing's most ardent supporters, then we created an online community and gave them an assignment: Develop a plan to market the sport to a new generation of fans. Over the course of about six weeks, the group will be spending dozens of hours meeting, debating, and challenging each other's assumptions -- the results of which they will present to the industry at the NTRA Marketing Summit."
Having read many of these blogs for years and being somewhat familiar with their stances on various issues I'm quite excited about the types of ideas that will be brought forward. Of course there is no guarantee that the suggestions will be implemented. But who could ask for more than an audience with powers of racing? I'm sure any racing fan would jump at the chance. It may be just the edge we need to get something like a point system implemented. It's a major step in the right direction and a huge honour for the chosen five.
Let us hope their presentation is well received and that this is not a one time opportunity.