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US Jockey Club Updates "Sustainable Growth Initiatives"
Meanwhile the US Jockey Club has launched several of its "sustainable growth" initiatives (with more to be rolled out in the coming months) which "are part of a long-term content creation & distribution strategy designed to attract & engage new fans to thoroughbred racing" reported thoroughbredtimes.com. The initiatives were recommended by McKinsey & Company in August 2011.
- In April the new website www.followhorseracing.com was launched after a 1-month promotional period. The site "is part of the development of a new brand, America's Best Racing, which focuses on 2 seasons within thoroughbred racing - the road to the Triple Crown series & the road to the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships". The website is designed "to present original content on a daily basis, including news, photos & videos produced by the Hennegan Brothers, who were responsible for the award-winning documentary The First Saturday In May" (Kentucky Derby day). The website also features blogs written by racing personalities.
- The Jockey Club has also launched another new website www.ownerview.com "which is designed to serve as a comprehensive information resource for current & prospective thoroughbred owners". The website includes information on trainers, details on public racing syndicates, information on licensing & information about racehorse retirement. Jockey Club president James Gagliano noted: "The sport needs to reduce the barriers to ownership. We knew that with our extensive data collection & technology expertise, this resource was something The Jockey Club could build & launch in a short period of time."
- The Jockey Club also plans to launch 2 online games designed to attract casual fans. A free-to-play game called Major League Horse Racing "which is intended to be a no-risk way to learn about wagering, is in beta testing & is expected to launch after the Belmont Stakes. A social game, which will be called Thoroughbred World, is also in development & expected to launch later this month."
- This year The Jockey Club, in collaboration with the NBC Sports Network & 6 racetracks, provided live coverage of 6 Kentucky Derby prep races. The 4 separate telecasts "averaged over 400,000 viewers each, topped by the 1.2-million viewers for the Gr1 Santa Anita Derby & Gr1 Wood Memorial Stakes on April 7". NBC Sports Group senior director of programming & acquisitions Gary Quinn enthused: "We were thrilled to add these important & historic major prep races to the programming schedule of the re-branded NBC Sports Network & the escalating viewership confirmed that racing fans & newcomers had a keen interest in these events. As the home of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes & Breeders' Cup, we look forward to televising important races from around the country that feature horses that will be running in these major events." NBC's telecast of this year's Kentucky Derby was the 3rd-most watched in 23 years & "decisions are underway about additional programming leading up to the Breeders' Cup".
- The Jockey Club has also "set aside funding to develop pitches to networks for alternative programming, such as a reality series, that could help attract new fans".