SBD/March 9, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

NTRA, Jockey Club Debut Social Media Campaign To Promote "America's Best Racing"

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In an effort to revamp the sport of horse racing and grow its fan base, the NTRA and the Jockey Club are taking to social media sites to push their new brand “America’s Best Racing” by introducing the Twitter campaign #TheOtherMadness. The partnership’s Twitter handle will be @ABRLive. Coinciding with the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, commonly known as March Madness, NTRA VP/Communications Stephen Panus said #TheOtherMadness campaign aims to “position racing as a fun, exciting and affordable sports entertainment option to younger fans.” He added, “When we looked at the history of our sport ... we’ve had 347 years of our own madness. Long before Naismith hung the first peach basket, horse racing had already created this notion of favorites and long shots.” The social media campaign will include viral videos rolling out via Twitter and YouTube throughout the racing season leading up to the 138th Kentucky Derby on May 5. The “America’s Best Racing” brand will launch Sunday through the website www.followhorseracing.com. The site will be introduced in phases with the fully functioning version debuting April 4. Jockey Club VP/Business Operations Jason Wilson said the need for a new brand comes from the sport’s declining percentage of interest. Wilson noted a study done by McKinsey & Co. “found that we are losing 4% of our fans each year, so over the course of the next five years we want to reverse that.” He added the group’s primary goal is to “increase the awareness of horse racing and to inspire fan development” through video sharing, social networks and social games. The site will eventually feature blogging from horse racing industry execs, jockeys and media, as well as educational videos on the sport.

GAME ON: The joint venture later this month will launch a free-to-play social game via their Facebook page called "Major League Horse Racing." Similar to other fantasy sports leagues, the game allows participants to earn points by tweeting out stories or “liking” items on Facebook about horses that are a part of users' virtual stables. The fans can use the points to “make bets” on graded stakes races on the calendar. Panus said the idea of the game is that fans will “gain a little confidence in learning how to gamble.” The game will initially launch on Facebook but will also appear with other games on the “America’s Best Racing” website.

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