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Evans Lists 5 Reasons For US Racing Optimism
In the US, Churchill Downs president & chief executive Robert Evans (also a breeder & owner of Tenlane Farms) presented the keynote address at The University Of Arizona's 37th Annual Symposium on Racing. After listing many of the "challenges" facing the racing industry, Evans examined 5 reasons for optimism:
- Alternative gaming at the track is expanding. Gaming subsidies "will account for a higher percentage of purse money" & this can provide "the capital & time required" to allow racing to "get its house in order".
- Balance sheets are improving. The number of tracks owned by companies with strong balance sheets will allow for the cash needed to transform racing's failing business model.
- Racing is embracing technology that exponentially expands our knowledge of customers. Technology will also exponentially expand customer demands, experiences, trends & preferences.
- There is a market for quality. The top US races (Triple Crown, Breeders' Cup, etc) saw an 18% increase in handle between 2003-2009], while total US handle declined 19% over the same period; & handle on the top 465 US races remained even against the overall decline.
- Innovation is the basis of competition for customers. Monmouth Park's revolutionary Elite Summer Meet showed a significant increase in handle & Evans declared: "Try big stuff. Focus on creating one more profitable day of racing per week." Churchill's Friday Night racing was a prime example.
Evans summed up: "Innovation, technology & quality are the paths to success."