Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Rachel Alexandra V. Zenyatta-Sell the Event

I like the approach of Oaklawn Park Owner Charlie Cella with this “announcement thing” on Thursday, presumably an offer to have Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta face off against each other on April 3rd at the Grade 1 Apple Blossom or the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap.

Make it big; make it sound like a big event you must watch or attend.

Since the heyday of racing some 30-40 years ago, the NBA boomed, the NFL become the monster of televised sports and other sports grabbed their slice of the pie including NASCAR, European Soccer, Tennis, Pro-Golf, MMA and quasi-sport/entertainment events such as Pro Wrestling and Poker.

Tonight on my cable system, between the hours of 6 and 10 pm I have the choice of 14 Division 1 basketball games, 4 NBA games, 1 Hockey game, and the Caribbean World Series-all available on basic cable (non-pay) channels. These are all live sporting events, I did not include various taped sports programming, classic sports replays or sports TV talk shows. All on a Wednesday night, a weekend listing of available events would be 3 times as long.

Stand out from the overload of sporting events by selling the event. People still love watching events and attending them. Witness this weekends Super Bowl, and the upcoming (2/27) Syracuse-Villanova hoop game at the Carrier Dome. It’s sold out at 34,616 fans, an on-campus NCAA record. Why is a regular season hoops game sold out?-because it is an “event”. You have 2 long time Big East Conference Rivals, currently # 2 vs. # 3, you have rivalry, importance and excitement.

Rachel v. Zenyatta has the same elements-rivalry, importance and excitement. It is now an “event”. Yes the game is supported and exists for the horseplayer and they should always be #1, but selling the event to the "fans" can’t hurt.


Diane said...

I agree, there is no more exciting 30 seconds in any sport than when a field of truly talented horses make their way "down the stretch" Most of my friends and peers are not aware of how thrilling a sport horse racing is until they come to my house to watch a great race. I hope the racing industry ramps up the marketing and visibility, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta have certainly done their share of the work. Run Rachel Run

Monica said...

This would indeed be a very exciting match between two extremely athletic horses. I am pleased to read Jess Jackson's comment that he is still going to pay attention to whether or not Rachel indicates she is ready to run versus basing any decision on the size of the purse offering: "My family and I would love to see her run at Oaklawn Park. If she is in top form and it fits in our schedule, we will be there," Jackson said. "As you have heard me say many times before, a number of factors must be considered when deciding where to race a horse — the number one factor being the condition of the horse. Rachel will tell us when she is ready to start her 2010 campaign and we humans must agree she is in top form."

The_Knight_Sky said...

Mr Jackson quoted:

If she is in top form and it fits in our schedule, we will be there," Jackson said.

That's a lot of ifs and buts at this stage of the game. If the objective is to decide Horse-of-the-Year 2010,
then the timing is incorrect.

And who is to say that Quality Road or another horse won't accomplish more than both of these gals by the end of 2010?

ljk said...

Saw where Pletcher already has Quality Road's campaign planned:

Met Mile
BC Classic

Someone at NYRA should already be working on a QR, RA and Zen matchup in the Woodward.

SaratogaSpa said...

Thanks Diane and Monica for your thoughts
Knight Sky and LJK: If all 3 are healthy and load in the gate and all get off , hard not too like QR to beat em all.