This is a write up of my notes taken during the plenary sessions on day two of the Asian Racing Conference 2018.
Plenary Session 1 - Keynote - Racing through the Asian Century
As one of Australia's leading demographers, Bernard gave a very interesting talk on how Asia is expanding and the attitudes and habits of different age groups relate to racing. It was a talk focussed on global mega-trends, such as:
- China now 60% of the US economy
- Asia of course is growing rapidly compared to the rest of the world
- Racing industry events and products must be "taggable" for social media
- Hong Kong is now Asia's Manhattan
- He discussed while we're seeing growth in some consumer segments we're seeing decline in others, such as boats and cruisers. He explains this as the emergent generations being perfectly happy to rent rather than buy. This he related to horse racing as are syndicates something that would have more play with a younger consumer?
Winfried is the chairman of the Asian Racing Federation and the CEO of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. He gave a talk on what he sees are the challenges for the brand of racing. Key points included:
- Thoroughbred racing is an aspirational product
- Racing betting is 6% of a $361Bn USD gambling revenue, on par with sports betting
- Racing needs to change it's image to being seen as much more than gambling
- The need to foster an emotional connection to racing directly
- HKJC's work on Happy Wednesday as a regular event to raise the profile and desirability of horse racing with younger people
- Jockeys are not seen as athletes when they so clearly are by all athletic measures as sportspeople
- The value of the Kentucky Derby as a brand being $2Bn USD. Mentioned that there was an offer over that amount to buy it as a brand and it was rejected!
- His view that there needs to be a master "Global Brand" for racing that is universally recognised to propel growth
Phil is the CEO of Media for the Manchester United football club. He described what Man U have done to become one of the world's leading sporting brands. Highlights included:
- The value of sports content continues to rise
- Live sports is what is driving traditional television
- Personalisation and direct dialogue with the brand as essential
- Attention span on the internet is now 8 seconds
- They are only relatively new to YouTube, while already very popular on Facebook, twitter, weibo, instagram and line. He quipped that "Man United may not be first to the party but they're going to be the best dressed"
- Man U is the most watched club. Beyond Game of Thrones and the Oscars
- Great value in making players relatable and they did this with Alexis Sanchez playing the piano
- All media and individual social channels must have custom content and vary the tone between channels
- Be unique and add value
- Focus on CRM and analytics
With the above joined by Louis Romanet
Salient points in my opinion:
- Racing is one sport where male and female human athletes compete equally as do male and female horses
- Racing content needs to be much more fun. We should ask ourselves "Is this fun enough for someone to push the send button? Can we add more fun here?"
- Race tracks are gender friendly we need to exploit that more