By Mary Cage | @MaryCagePTG
Horse racing is the sport for which I have a passion and the industry in which I am making a career for myself. However, it is also a struggling industry striving to gain more fans and looking for ways to do so. Social media could be the answer.
One of the biggest issues horse racing has faced is access to fans. In the past, there have been very little behind-the-scenes looks for fans. Now, however, nearly every social media platform allows enthusiasts this chance. Facebook Live, Twitter videos, and YouTube give fans ways to see what goes on in the lives of the sport’s equine athletes. During the sport’s biggest events, such as Kentucky Derby week, the world of horse racing comes alive on Twitter with photos, videos, and links of horses and trainers preparing for the big race.
This is especially important in terms of the sport’s lack of television coverage in this day and age. While the NFL, MLB, and NBA are widely covered on television, horse racing rarely gets exposure on television’s most important stations; often only the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup receive such attention. This makes it harder to reach more people, but horse racing’s growing presence on social media is helping to close the gap.
But how does the sport use social media to generate new revenue? Of course, social media brings horse racing more exposure, but that does not matter much in the grand scheme of things if it not actively attracting new fans and therefore more people who will spend money at racetracks. It is up to racetracks to actively engage their social media followers through quality content. Appealing posts that integrate visuals such as photos and videos are likely to generate the most engagement, but of this engagement, shares are the most important. Shares are how new people will be reached and will hopefully become interested. Other effective social media posts could be advertisements for special offers to attract people to the racetrack.
Ultimately, social media alone will not “save” horse racing. But as it has done in several other industries, social media – if used correctly – can certainly push horse racing in the right direction.
Featured image by Mary Cage (author)